In March, U.S.-backed fighters announced they had re-captured the last remnants of Islamic State-held territory in Syria, marking the official end of the group's caliphate. While not an end of the group itself, this moment does raise two important questions U.S. policymakers must answer. First, what is next for Syria and what is the future of U.S. Syria policy? And second, what lessons has the United States learned from the counter-ISIS campaign and its efforts to work by, with, and through local partners that it can apply to address similar challenges in the region?
On April 29, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) hosted an event where expert panelists tried to answer these questions. The event coincided with the release of two new reports: "Solving the Syrian Rubik's Cube: An Instruction Guide for Leveraging Syria’s Fragmentation to Achieve U.S. Policy Objectives" by Nicholas Heras and Kaleigh Thomas and "Slow and Steady: Improving U.S.-Arab Cooperation to Counter Irregular Warfare" by Ilan Goldenberg, Nicholas Heras, and Kaleigh Thomas.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense in the Middle East Mick Mulroy
View Deputy Assistant Secretary Mulroy's remarks:
Panel 1: Solving the Syrian Rubik's Cube
Frances Z. Brown, Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Hassan Hassan, Director, Program on Non-State Actors in Fragile Environments, Center for Global Policy
Jomana Qaddaour, Doctoral Candidate, Georgetown University Law Center
Nicholas A. Heras, Fellow, Middle East Security Program, CNAS
Watch the conversation:
Panel 2: Improving U.S.-Arab Cooperation to Counter Irregular Warfare
Dr. Mara Karlin, Director, Strategic Studies Program, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Brian Katz, Visiting Fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Kenneth Pollack, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
Ilan Goldenberg, Director and Senior Fellow, Middle East Security Program, CNAS