ISSUE BRIEF AND REPORT: CAP Calls for Integrated Diplomatic and Security Strategy to Manage the Threat Posed by Terrorist Groups in Iraq and Syria

Washington D.C. – As news of atrocities perpetuated by the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, continue to proliferate, the Center for American Progress released an issue brief today urging the Obama administration to prepare for possible targeted military strikes against the militants in Iraq as part of an overall regional diplomatic and security strategy.

The brief outlines specific conditions for providing Iraq’s national government with additional assistance, including serious steps toward greater political inclusion, and it recommends an integrated regional diplomatic and security strategy to prevent violence from spreading and further fragmenting the Middle East. The Obama administration needs a comprehensive engagement plan for the region that includes all stakeholders, including close partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council states and countries neighboring Iraq.

“The United States should consider limited military engagement as part of a larger regional strategy to stem the growth of militant extremist groups such as ISIS,” said Brian Katulis, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. “These strikes in particular should be targeted and precise with the goal of degrading the capacity of ISIS to threaten the security of the United States, Iraq, and the region.”

In conjunction with the latest brief CAP has released “U.S. Middle East Policy at a Time of Regional Fragmentation and Competition,” a new comprehensive report analyzing the fluid period of transition in the region that has seen the rise of sectarian tensions, extremism, and competition between leading countries of the region. The growing influence of a broad range of Islamist groups is central to this new regional landscape, including the surge of extremist militants such as ISIS, as well as various political Islamist groups across the region.

The report argues that the major changes underway in regional power dynamics point to a need to make U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa more adept at understanding and responding to political currents in a way that reflects both U.S. core security interests and values.

Click here to read the issue brief on ISIS.

Click here to read the report on U.S. Middle East Policy in the region.

Click here to watch the video of the June 16, 2016 CAP panel discussion on U.S. Middle East policy

For more information, contact Tom Caiazza at  or 202.481.7141.