A full defeat of ISIS will be determined not by its ouster from its “capital” in Raqqa, but by Syrians’ ability to meet the needs of the city’s residents and manage local divisions, notably between Arabs and Kurds. Mona Yacoubian details the problem and outlines solutions. A continued “light footprint” by the United States will be vital in guiding local groups to reconcile and build an inclusive local government, she writes in a USIP Special Report.
|To build the truly national police and army needed to stabilize Somalia, the country needs unity—and funds. The massive bombs that killed more than 300 in Mogadishu have deepened Somalis’ solidarity against al-Shabab terrorism. So it’s the moment for Somali leaders and their international allies to jointly raise the funds for this vital step toward ending Somalia’s dependence on international intervention. One step: Speed the write-down of Somalia’s old debts.||By its end next week, the 19th Communist Party Congress will provide clues about China’s coming directions on its foreign conflicts and initiatives. Will promotions of admirals signal a politically strengthened navy that might push harder in maritime disputes? How fast will China press forward the ‘Belt and Road’ international investment plan promoted by President Xi Jinping? And will any decisions signal a direction in the North Korea crisis?|
|Years of work in 20-plus war-torn societies has shown Colette Rausch that the initiatives of ordinary citizens are essential to preventing a fragile land’s slide into civil war. “This is not a soft option: it takes guts, determination, and planning,” she writes in an essay for War on the Rocks. Action by citizens is as important as any by national leaders.||Pakistan’s press last week celebrated a flurry of U.S.-Pakistani meetings as a sign that the nadir in relations has been overcome. Not yet, writes USIP's Moeed Yusuf. At most, the two sides bought time in a dispute that still turns, as it has for years, on their deep disagreement over the war in Afghanistan.|