Latest in Syria

Foreign Policy Essay

Russia Might Regret the U.S. Drawdown in Syria

Editor’s Note: The Syrian conflict, while hardly over, is diminishing. The Syrian people clearly lost, but who—other than the barbarous Assad regime—won? One candidate is Russia, whose military intervention helped save the regime and which has re-emerged as a power broker in the Middle East. Carol Saivetz of MIT, however, argues this may be a mixed blessing for Moscow. Although the regime has accomplished many things in Syria, these accomplishments have created new problems that will be tricky for Moscow to solve.

Daniel Byman

Foreign Policy Essay

Is the Islamic State Defeated?

Editor’s Note: Whether the Islamic State is out as well as down is hotly debated in the terrorism world. President Trump believes the group is defeated, but most analysts argue that it remains a major threat. How to measure defeat, though, is not given much consideration. Jacob Olidort of American University argues that the president basically has it right: If you look at a broad range of measures, the Islamic State is defeated and U.S. policy should reflect this win.

Daniel Byman

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Syria

The U.S. Withdrawal From Syria Is an Opportunity for China

The announcement that the United States will withdraw its remaining troops from Syria has clear implications for many players with interests at stake in the ongoing civil war. Attention has focused on what the U.S. withdrawal will mean for the Kurds, and whether Turkey will be less restrained, or how Iran and Russia might try to project influence farther east in rebel-held territories retaken from the Islamic State. Noticeably absent from these analyses has been how the withdrawal would affect another great power with vested interests in the Middle East—China.

Foreign Policy Essay

Dignity and the Needs of Young Syrian Refugees in the Middle East

Editor’s Note: Programs to counter violent extremism (CVE) are often focused on established communities in the United States, Europe, and the Muslim world. However, refugees are among the most at-risk communities, often trapped in a world of violence and despair. Maira Seeley of Princeton University examines the risk of radicalization for refugee populations and finds that they have different needs for CVE programs than their host communities. She lays out a series of recommendations on how to design CVE better for the millions of refugees from the Syrian civil war.

Foreign Policy Essay

Thinking Critically About “By, With, Through” in Syria, Iraq, and Beyond

Editor’s Note: In the years since 9/11, the United States has waged war around the globe. It has often done so, however, “by, with, and through” local partners. Despite the importance of this approach and its overall value to the United States, its risks and limits do not receive enough attention. Morgan Kaplan of the Buffett Institute at Northwestern asks several probing questions about U.S. efforts to work with partners and concludes that this approach should not be uncritically embraced.

Daniel Byman

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Syria

Trump’s Syria Pullout: A Quick Assessment

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Order from Chaos.

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” the president tweeted to explain his sudden decision to withdraw the several thousand U.S. troops stationed in Syria within 30 days. Trump’s decision has a few potential positives, but overall the decision is a poor one—made far worse by the lack of a process and preparation.

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