April 15, 2016

Taking the Fight to "ISILSTAN": Displacing and Replacing ISIL in Eastern Syria and Western Iraq

By Ilan Goldenberg, Nicholas Heras and Paul Scharre

More so than at any time in recent history, last month demonstrated the dichotomous nature of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) current situation. On the one hand, the horrific attacks in Brussels demonstrated ISIL’s capacity to recruit and train operatives in European Muslim communities and build a local network capable of carrying out high-consequence attacks. On the other hand, ISIL also suffered major losses in its proto-state as the Syrian city of Palmyra fell to the Assad regime.

At the Center for a New American Security, we have been undertaking a review of U.S. strategy toward ISIL. We have previously written about an overall framework for addressing the problem and addressed the Syrian civil war stretching from Dara’a in the south to Aleppo in the northwest. Now it is time to turn to how the United States can displace ISIL from the territory it controls in its nascent caliphate in eastern Syria and western Iraq.

Read the full article in War on the Rocks.

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