The Institute for the Study of War and AEI's Critical Threats Project 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 ISIS and al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. This first report examines America’s global grand strategic objectives as they relate to ISIS and al Qaeda and considers the nature of those enemy groups in depth and in their global context.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued an arrest warrant for Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni and prominent official from the opposition Iraqiyya List, on December 19, 2011.
Recently Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki commenced in a wide-scale campaign to purge hundreds of former members of the Ba’ath party from Iraq’s security apparatus.
Baghdad witnessed serious breaches of security from February 11 to 16 due to both escalating protest movements and ISIS attacks.
Security conditions have decreased in Mosul and Salah al-Din and in the southern provinces due to revived militant attacks and election-related violence, respectively, from February 2 to 10.
Early indicators suggest that a post-ISIS Sunni insurgency may be forming in Iraq and al Qaeda (AQ) is trying to gain traction within it.
ISIS continued to reestablish its presence in its historic support zones; other Sunni insurgent groups may form in Iraq as ISIS focuses on shifting from a governing to guerilla style terrorist organization.
Operations in Mosul paused since the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) recaptured eastern Mosul on January 24. The ISF is now preparing to retake the western side. Political conditions have changed, however. Increased pressure on Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to keep his premiership and uncertain relations between the U.S. and Iraq may allow pro-Iranian groups to extract concessions from PM Abadi that run contrary to U.S. interests in Iraq.
The recapture of Mosul can reset the balance of power between Iran and the U.S. in Iraq and the region.