The Battle for Baghdad: Scenarios

June 13, 2014 - Jessica D. Lewis

On June 12, 2014, Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani claimed that ISIS will target Samarra, Baghdad, Karbala, and Najaf. These cities and their Shi’a shrines will not fall the way that Mosul did.

The ISIS Battle Plan

June 12, 2014 -

ISIS operations around Samarra during this phase of its northern offensive will be an important indicator of its ultimate intent and its estimate of its own capabilities.

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham Captures Mosul and Advances toward Baghdad

June 11, 2014 - Jessica D. Lewis

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has achieved the goals of its major year-long offensive with the fall of Mosul and the collapse of the Iraqi Security Forces north of Baghdad.

ISIS Annual Reports Reveal a Metrics-Driven Military Command

May 22, 2014 -

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has a disciplined military command that reports attacks across operating areas that has operated in this manner for at least two years.

Fallout in Lebanon: The Impact of Yabroud

May 16, 2014 -

The Syrian regime’s decisive victory over rebel forces in the Qalamoun stronghold of Yabroud, bolstered by support from Lebanese Hezbollah and Syrian National Defense Forces, has significant implications in the overall context of the three-year conflict.

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham and the “Cleansing” of Deir ez-Zour

May 14, 2014 - Valerie Szybala

Following the January 2014 uprising by rebel groups in Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), ISIS contracted its footprint in Syria.

Afghanistan: 5,000 Troops are not Enough

April 23, 2014 - Institute for the Study of War

The White House is dropping strong hints that the number of American troops in Afghanistan after 2014 may fall below 10,000, possibly even below 5,000. Unnamed White House officials suggested to the press that lower levels of U.S. support to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) will be sufficient to contain future Taliban threats.

Iraq’s 2014 National Elections

April 21, 2014 - Ahmed Ali

Iraq is experiencing a political and security crisis. Iraq’s April 30, 2014 national elections will determine the shape of Iraq’s national government for the next four years, if indeed a government can endure Iraq’s potential relapse into civil war.

Hezbollah in Syria

April 7, 2014 - Marisa Cochrane Sullivan

Hezbollah’s deepening involvement in Syria is one of the most important factors of the conflict in 2013 and 2014. The impact of Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria has been felt not just on the battlefield, where the regime now has momentum in many areas, but also in Lebanon where growing sectarian tensions have undermined security and stability.

The Islamic State of Iraq Returns to Diyala

March 31, 2014 - Jessica D. Lewis

Anbar is not the only front in Iraq on which Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), now operating as the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), is fighting in 2014. ISIS has also established a governorate in Diyala. Its spokesman has named the province the central front in the sectarian conflict he has urged.