Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Report Says a Strategic Recalibration, not American Troops, Are Needed in Fight Against ISIS
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Report Says a Strategic Recalibration, not American Troops, Are Needed in Fight Against ISIS

Washington, D.C. — In the one year since the international campaign to defeat and degrade the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, began, the coalition has seen mixed results. The coalition has dealt ISIS several blows in both Iraq and Syria, but the terrorist army has proven able to go on the offensive in Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria. President Barack Obama’s warning at the outset that the campaign against ISIS would be a multi-year effort has been proven correct.

In a new report released today, the Center for American Progress calls for a recalibration of the ISIS strategy—one that focuses unifying the coalition’s political and military strategies in Iraq, Syria, and the region as a whole.

“The basic policy framework in the coalition’s efforts to defeat ISIS is sound,” said Hardin Lang, CAP Senior Fellow and a co-author of the report. “American combat troops cannot fix Iraq and Syria’s political problems. If there is going to be any lasting effect against the terrorist group, it must come from local and regional forces fighting for their homeland, not international troops. Right now, the political volatility in the region is making it harder for these forces to take back land seized by ISIS and to defeat the terrorist organization.”

The report offers several recommendations to ensure that the military campaign and counterterrorism efforts are better integrated in a wider political strategy. They include:

  • Strengthening political and military coordination within the anti-ISIS coalition to prepare for a long-term regional campaign
  • Helping Iraqis build a political framework in which Sunni Arabs have a real stake in their country’s future
  • Setting a clear policy in Syria that integrates training, equipping, and negotiating efforts to de-escalate the crisis in Syria

Click here to read “Recalibrating the Anti-ISIS Strategy” By Hardin Lang, Peter Juul, and Mokhtar Awad

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at [email protected] or 202.481.7141.