April 21, 2017
April 2, 2017
Even by the standards of the Trump Administration’s generally rocky start, the State Department has fared badly in media reporting and insider commentary.
March 1, 2017
On January 28, President Donald Trump signed an order for the U.S. military to review the campaign against ISIS and develop a decisive plan to defeat it within 30 days. Given the threats that ISIS poses to our homeland, our allies, and partners, we argue this is the right approach.
February 22, 2017
Last October, I published a summary of the coalition battle to liberate Mosul from ISIS in The Cipher Brief, stressing that inside the one battle there were six “campaigns” – milit
December 23, 2016
The attempted military coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is perhaps the most important political event in Turkey of the past 16 years, and has fundamentally changed the country's internal politics and external priorities.
October 16, 2016
The good news: all signs point to a final attack on ISIS in Mosul by Iraqi forces and the American-led coalition. This struggle has received much media attention, and even presidential campaign play, and for good reason.
September 16, 2016
Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have been on the rise, beginning with different priorities over Syria and ISIS, and then ham-handed American reactions to, and Turkish accusations of, U.S. involvement in the failed July 15 Turkish coup.
June 29, 2016
The beginning of the end of ISIS’s dominance over the Sunni Arab region of Iraq is at hand, following the Iraqi security forces’ clearance of ISIS from most of Fallujah, the first Iraqi city to fall to the terrorist group.
June 23, 2016
President Barack Obama attracted much attention, positive and negative, for his comments during his April trip to the UK, advocating for Britain to remain in the EU. The invitation to come to London was almost certainly a consequence of an urgent request from Prime Minister David Cameron, who wa
May 1, 2016
In this season of dramatic strategic surprises in the Middle East, seemingly almost anything is possible: Russia’s successful military re-entry into the region, America’s near abandonment of a 40-year commitment to that region under President Obama, the rise of an Islamic terrorist state, and a p
April 3, 2016
Despite some recent successes against ISIS, including military strikes against top leaders such as Hajji Imam and the Russian-backed Syrian victory against ISIS in Palmyra, ISIS’s core control of a Britain-sized swath of Syria and Iraq is still solid. Meanwhile, Iraq remains under military, ter
February 11, 2016
Victory in Ramadi City against ISIS by the Iraqi Army, despite ISIS holdouts, has given a shot in the arm to the Iraqi government and to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Strengthening Iraq’s political institution is not only essential to the fight against ISIS but also for larger regio
December 24, 2015
Victory against ISIS requires not simply more military muscle but diplomacy. On the Iraq front that means complementing more effective military and political action in Sunni areas with diplomacy involving Iran, Turkey, the Arab states and Baghdad.
December 17, 2015
The “Arab Spring” of 2011-12 has profoundly changed the Middle East, but much is misunderstood about its effects. First, it did not produce, other than in Tunisia, lasting liberalization and more democracy in the states of the region.
January 31, 2017
Some of the most significant challenges the Trump administration will face are in the Middle East. These include the threat of salafi-Jihadist terrorism, Iran’s efforts to create a “Shiite crescent” spanning the region, and a resurgent Russian role.
December 14, 2016
Washington understandably is exercised over the controversy between the Trump transition team and the Intelligence Community (IC) concerning the apparent Russian government hacking of websites related to the Presidential election.
December 13, 2016
Exxon Mobil Chief Rex Tillerson, like almost all post World War II Secretary of State nominees, if confirmed, will come to the job with extensive international experience and a global network of high level contacts.