Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has outlined a new Syria strategy for the Trump administration that includes an extended U.S. troop presence. Tillerson spoke days after Turkey, a NATO ally, denounced a U.S. plan to create a Border Security Force in Syria composed heavily of ethnic Kurds. Mona Yacoubian, a longtime analyst and policy specialist on Syria and the Middle East, discusses the implications of these developments.
Even before President Donald Trump upended a core U.S. policy recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, late 2017 has been tumultuous in the Middle East. The Islamic State (ISIS) “caliphate” collapsed. Syria’s Assad regime all but won the six-year civil war, consolidating Iranian and Russian influence. Saudi Arabia purged...
Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Sochi on Tuesday to discuss efforts to end the Syrian civil war. The presidents of Iran and Turkey are scheduled to meet Putin on Wednesday as Russia promises to scale back its military presence in Syria and push for a diplomatic solution.
The fall of the Syrian city of Raqqa—the capital of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS)’s caliphate—will be a critical defeat for IS. Yet the success of the counter-campaign will ultimately...
Sino-Russian alignment in support of the Assad government in Syria is driven primarily by the mutual goal of preventing regime change and halting the spread of Islamic extremism. However, because Chinese strategic priorities lie elsewhere and Russia’s tactic of protracting military conflict in Syria contradicts Beijing’s long-term strategic interests, the prospect of future Sino-Russian cooperation in Syria is limited. This Peace Brief examines the forces driving this cooperation as well as its limits.
The war in Syria has killed more than 400,000 people, uprooted 12 million—half of the population—and propelled a wave of refugees that threatens stability from the Middle East to Western Europe. But this war, seeded in the 2011 uprisings against President Bashar al-Assad, isn’t just one conflict: In addition to the involvement of major powers like Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the U.S., a complex knot of local and sectarian disputes among armed opposition groups, ISIS, the al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and government forces endangers the nation’s future, no matter who rules at the national level.
The U.S. Institute of Peace has operated on the ground in Iraq since 2003 and in Afghanistan since 2002, as well as in Libya, Nigeria, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen. As a small, agile institution, USIP works with local leaders and the U.S. government, including the military, to stabilize areas devastated by ISIS, end cycles of revenge, and address the root causes of radicalization, including corrupt and abusive governance.
The United States launched its first air strikes against forces backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the country’s civil war began six years ago, in retaliation for a chemical-weapons attack that killed more than 80 civilian men, women and children. Elie Abouaoun, who is director of Middle East and North Africa programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace and is based in the region, examines the strategic implications, and USIP President Nancy Lindborg, who has worked for nearly 30 years on humanitarian crises and areas affected by conflict, comments on the factors that prompted the U.S. attack.
This report aims to help policymakers and practitioners navigate the challenges of developing effective programs to rehabilitate and reintegrate foreign fighters returning from Syria and Iraq into their societies. Ultimately, holistic and comprehensive reintegration efforts designed to transition returnees address not only their needs, but also those of the entire society, and are critical in building more resilient and safer communities.
From the Nazi regime of the 1940s through the Islamic State of today’s Middle East, an obscured element of history runs though the phenomenon of violent extremism: the participation of women. Contrary to the classic image of women as victims or, at least more recently, peacemakers, new research shows how women can stoke, support and sometimes directly join in violent action, scholars said in a discussion at the U.S. Institute of Peace.