Middle East Security

Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria: An Islamic Emirate for al-Qaeda

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is not the only Salafi-Jihadist threat emanating from Syria. JN rivals ISIS as a sophisticated, intelligent, strategic actor in the region.


Winning Battles, Losing Wars

Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik

Col. Harry G. Summers Jr. begins his book, On Strategy: The Vietnam War in Context, by relaying the following conversation: “‘You know you never defeated us on the battlefield,’ said the American colonel. 


Rebel gains in southern Syria and efforts to sever regime supply routes north and south of Damascus indicate that the regime has lost momentum in the capital region. 

US continue air strikes on Islamic State targets in Kobani

ISW Senior Naval Analyst Christopher Harmer, discuss and analyzes an ISIS video posted online showing grenades, which it is claiming were dropped by US forces.

Will ISIS Take Baghdad?

ISW's Research Director Jessica Lewis talks with Mary Kissel on why air strikes aren’t stopping the advance of Islamic State terrorists.

Media Contact

For media inquires please contact:
202-293-5550 x205

Stay Updated


The Institute for the Study of War launched its Middle East Security Project in November 2011. The project seeks: to study the national security challenges and opportunities emerging from the Persian Gulf and wider Arab World; to identify ways the United States and Gulf States can check Iran’s growing influence and contain the threat posed by its nuclear ambitions; to explain the shifting balance of power within the Middle East caused by recent upheaval, and assess the responses of the United States and Arab States to address these changes as they emerge.

Publications ISW in the News Media Maps Scholars


Featured Publications

Wilayat Sinai Likely Preparing for Car Bomb Campaign

Key Take-away: The threat of large-scale attacks in North Sinai by ISIS’s Wilayat Sinai is elevated as of March 12, 2015, but this threat is not assessed to directly target the upcoming Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm al-Sheikh scheduled for March 13-15, 2015 due to heightened security in South Sinai. Wilayat Sinai may, however, conduct attacks elsewhere during the conference in order to portray instability and derail economic and political opportunities for the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Syria Update: December 9-16, 2014

The rapid success of the assault on the Wadi al-Deif and al-Hamidiyah army bases delivers a clear message regarding the ascendant power and influence of JN 

Latest Media

Latest Photos

Middle East Security Maps

ISW in the News

MSNBC's 'The Cycle' with Jessica D. Lewis

ISW's Research Director, Jessica D. Lewis, talks about ISIS and Iraq on MSNBC's 'The Cycle," stating that ISIS has a "post-war vision to make this Caliphate a reality."

How Does the Regime Stand in Aleppo and Homs?

ISW Syria Analyst Isabel Nassief talks with Syria Deeply about the Syrian Regime's stance in Aleppo and Homs.