ON-Lion Letter

"The Islamic State poses a grave danger to the United States and its allies in the Middle East and around the world," begins a September paper from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in Washington, D.C.  "Reports that it is not currently planning an attack against the American homeland are little comfort.  Its location, the resources it controls, the skill and determination of its leaders and fighters, and its demonstrated lethality distinguish it from other al-Qaeda-like groups.  Its ability to offer safe-haven and support to terrorists planning attacks against us is beyond any terrorist threat we have ever seen.  The thousands of American and European citizens who are fighting alongside the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra in Iraq and Syria constitute an unprecedented threat to our security regardless of whether those groups intend to attack us. 

"The Islamic State is a clear and present danger to the security of the United States.  It must be defeated," according to A Strategy to Defeat the Islamic State, by Kimberly Kagan, Frederick W. Kagan, and Jessica D. Lewis.

Kimberly Kagan is ISW's founder and president of ISW.  Frederick W. Kagan is the Christopher DeMuth Chair and director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington.  Lewis is ISW's research director.  The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports both ISW and AEI.

According to the paper, the U.S. should at least prevent the Islamic State (ISIS) from renewing offensive operations to take the Euphrates River Valley from Haditha to Ramadi, the area south of Samarra along the Tigris River, the Bayji oil refinery, and Baghdad itself.  It should also force it to culminate before taking Aleppo or the key opposition supply lines from Turkey. 

Among other things, the U.S. should then establish positions from which to launch subsequent operations, as well, and prevent genocide.

"The strategy to defeat and destroy ISIS," it concludes, must "be determined, deliberate, and phased, allowing for iterative decisions that adjust the plan in response to the actual realities on the ground."

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