The San Bernardino shooting of December 2, 2015 was a terrorist attack conducted by perpetrators inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and possibly linked with and inspired by al Qaeda. The attack displays some of the sophistication and signatures of past al Qaeda attacks.
ISW's Syria Analyst and Evans Hanson Fellow Jennifer Cafarella makes the case that "The framework for a political settlement in Syria, recently negotiated by the United States, will fail to end the Syria Civil War." arguing that "The diplomatic track must be a partner and beneficiary of a sound military effort. It cannot be a substitute." Read her full op-ed in the Cipher Brief here.
Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) recaptured the Palestine Bridge that spans the Euphrates River northwest of Ramadi on November 25.
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)’s affiliate in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region is effective, operational, and positioned to expand. The affiliate, Wilayat Khorasan, controls populated areas in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar Province and has launched attacks on Jalalabad and Kabul.
The U.S. intensified its activities in Iraq and Syria by deploying additional Special Forces to Iraq.
Russia took steps to reassert its freedom of action in Syria in response to Turkey’s downing of a Russian bomber on November 24. Russia is deterring Turkey from future attacks by deploying the long-range S-400 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system to its airbase in Latakia Province, equipping its bombers in Syria with air-to-air missiles, and reportedly preparing to deploy up to twelve additional air superiority fighters to escort its bombers.
President Vladimir Putin is actively misinforming his domestic audience and the international community about Russia’s first military intervention outside the former Soviet Union since Afghanistan. Putin has created a false narrative about the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) to disguise the true objectives behind Russia’s intervention Syria and is using this narrative to manipulate the international community.
Turkey sharply escalated Russian-NATO relations on November 24 by downing a Russian Su-24 bomber near the Turkish-Syrian border. Turkey reported that the Russian bomber had violated Turkish airspace and ignored repeated warnings before Turkish F-16s shot the aircraft down. Syrian rebels killed one Russian pilot, and a subsequent search-and-rescue mission in northern Syria resulted in the death of a Russian marine and the destruction of a Russian helicopter. Russia is likely to take escalatory measures to project force against NATO’s southern flank in response to Turkey’s actions.