ISIS is executing a sophisticated, multi-front campaign against Libya’s oil facilities, demonstrating the organization’s growing capability abroad. President Obama reportedly ruled out significant military intervention against the group as of February 18.
Prime Minister Abadi is facing grave political challenges following his announcement of a cabinet reshuffle on February 9.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a snap readiness inspection of forces in southwestern Russia and the Crimean Peninsula beginning February 8 including air, naval, and air defense assets as well as up to 8,500 troops. The drills may have been a show of force in response to revelations of Western plans to deploy troops in Eastern Europe and the Baltics. NATO members agreed to increase the alliance’s forward presence along its eastern flank, reportedly with up to 6,000 troops, days after the U.S.
The United States faces a geostrategic inflection in Syria that it has not yet fully recognized. The “cessation of hostilities” declared on February 11, 2016 permits Russia and the Assad regime to continue targeting U.S. allies in Aleppo under the pretext that the opposition in the city consists predominantly of al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra.
The International Syria Support Group (ISSG) agreed to secure immediate humanitarian access to six besieged locations in Syria during their most recent meeting in Munich, Germany on February 11, 2016.
We’ve seen this movie—now playing in Syria-- before. The Russians have developed a way of getting the U.S. formally to permit offensive Russian military operations against American partners on the ground, all the while calling it a ceasefire.
The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency Chief, Vincent Stewart, noted that a Mosul operation was unlikely to occur in 2016, underscoring that the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have far to go before being ready to recapture the city.