ON-Lion Letter

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C., have conducted an intensive multi-week exercise to frame, design, and evaluate potential courses of action that the United States could pursue to defeat the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria.  The planning group weighed the national-security interests of the U.S., its partners, its rivals, and its enemies operating in or influencing the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

The ISW-CTP group considered how current policies and interests are interacting in this complex environment.  It also identified the minimum endstates that would satisfy American national-security requirements as well as the likely outcomes of current policies.  It assessed the threat posed by al Qaeda and ISIS to America, as well -- both in the immediate and long terms -- and it tested the probable outcomes of several potential courses of action that the U.S. could pursue in Iraq and Syria.

ISW and CTP will publish the findings of this exercise in multiple reports.  The just-released first report examines America's global grand strategic objectives as they relate to the threat from ISIS and al Qaeda.  Al Qaeda and ISIS:  Existential Threats to the US and Europe considers the nature of those enemy groups in depth and in their global context. 

The second report will define American strategic objectives in Iraq and Syria, along with those of Iran, Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, and will articulate the minimum required conditions of military-political resolutions to conflicts in Iraq and Syria.  The final report will present the planning group’s evaluation of several courses of action.

Among the key findings of the first report:

• Salafi-jihadi military organizations, particularly ISIS and al Qaeda, are the greatest threat to the security and values of American and European citizens;

• Syrian al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra poses one of the most-significant long-term threats of any Salafi-jihadi group; and,

• current counter-ISIS and -al Qaeda policies do not ensure the safety of the American people or the homeland.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports both ISW and AEI's foreign and defense policy studies.

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |