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Armed Conflict in Syria

Armed Conflict in Syria Author Congressional Service
ISBN-10 1986397858
Release 2018-03-10
Pages 46
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The Syria conflict, now in its seventh year, remains a significant policy challenge for the United States. U.S. policy toward Syria in the past several years has given highest priority to counterterrorism operations against the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL/ISIS), but also included assistance to opposition-held communities, support for diplomatic efforts to reach a political settlement to the civil war, and the provision of humanitarian assistance in Syria and surrounding countries. The counter-IS campaign works primarily "by, with, and through" local partners, per a broader U.S. strategy initiated by the Obama Administration and continued with modifications by the Trump Administration. The United States has simultaneously advocated for a political track to reach a negotiated settlement between the government of Syrian President Bashar al Asad and opposition forces, within the framework of U.N.-mediated talks in Geneva. For a brief conflict summary, see Figure 2. Since the recapture of the Islamic State's self-proclaimed capital at Raqqah by U.S.-backed forces in October 2017, Trump Administration officials have reemphasized that the United States is entering a "new phase" that will focus on "de-escalating violence overall in Syria through a combination of ceasefires and de-escalation areas." These efforts are designed to create the conditions for a national-level political process ultimately culminating in a new constitution and U.N.-supervised elections. In January 2018, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson laid out the Administration's policy for future U.S. involvement in Syria, stating that the United States intends to maintain a military presence there to prevent a resurgence by the Islamic State. To date, the United States has directed nearly $7.7 billion toward Syria-related humanitarian assistance, and Congress has appropriated billions more to support security and stabilization initiatives in Syria and in neighboring countries. The Defense Department has not disaggregated the costs of military operations in Syria from the overall cost of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), which has reached over $18.5 billion. The executive branch has reprogrammed or requested more than $2.2 billion to train, equip, advise, and assist vetted Syrians as part of a specially authorized program in place since late 2014. Congress also has debated proposals to authorize or restrict the use of military force against the Islamic State and in response to Syrian government chemical weapons attacks, but has not enacted any Syria-specific use of force authorizations. Looking forward, policymakers may consider questions regarding the purpose, scope, and duration of the U.S. military presence in Syria, the effectiveness of U.S. cooperation with Russia, post-Islamic State governance and reconstruction, as well as the challenges of reaching a political settlement between the Asad government and a broad spectrum of armed and political opposition actors.

Armed Conflict in Syria

Armed Conflict in Syria Author Congressional Research Service (US)
ISBN-10 197422127X
Release 2017-08-03
Pages 44
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A deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria on April 4, 2017, and a U.S. military strike in response on April 6 returned the Syrian civil war-now in its seventh year-to the forefront of international attention. In response to the April 4 attack, some Members of Congress called for the United States to conduct a punitive military operation. These Members and some others since have praised President Trump's decision to launch a limited strike, although some also have called on the President to consult with Congress about Syria strategy. Other Members have questioned the President's authority to launch the strike in the absence of specific prior authorization from Congress. In the past, some in Congress have expressed concern about the international and domestic authorizations for such strikes, their potential unintended consequences, and the possibility of undesirable or unavoidable escalation. Since taking office in January 2017, President Trump has stated his intention to "destroy" the Syria- and Iraq-based insurgent terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL, ISIS, or the Arabic acronym Da'esh), and the President has ordered actions to "accelerate" U.S. military efforts against the group in both countries. In late March, senior U.S. officials signaled that the United States would prioritize the fight against the Islamic State and said that Syrian President Bashar al Asad's future would be determined by the Syrian people. Nevertheless, following the April 4 attack, President Trump and senior members of his Administration have spoken more critically of Asad's leadership, and it remains to be seen whether the United States will more directly seek to compel Asad's departure from power while pursuing the ongoing campaign against the Islamic State.

Armed Conflict in Syria

Armed Conflict in Syria Author Christopher M. Christopher M. Blanchard
ISBN-10 1502507757
Release 2014-09-17
Pages 36
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The summer 2014 offensive in neighboring Iraq by the insurgent terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL/ISIS) has reshaped longstanding debates over U.S. policy toward the three-year old conflict in Syria. The Islamic State controls large areas of northeastern Syria, where it continues to clash with forces opposed to and aligned with the government of Bashar al Asad. Meanwhile, fighting continues in other parts of Syria, pitting government forces and their foreign allies against a range of anti-government insurgents, many of whom also are engaged in battles with IS forces. Since March 2011, the conflict has driven more than 3 million Syrians into neighboring countries as refugees (out of a total population of more than 22 million). Millions more Syrians are internally displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance, of which the United States remains the largest bilateral provider, with more than $2.4 billion in funding identified to date. The United States also has allocated a total of $287 million to date for nonlethal assistance to select opposition groups. Prior to the Islamic State's mid-2014 advances in Iraq, the Administration had requested $2.75 billion in funding for the Syria crisis for FY2015. Neither pro-Asad forces nor their opponents appear capable of achieving outright victory in the short term. However, the prospect of international intervention to degrade the capabilities of the Islamic State appears to be driving speculation among many parties to the conflict that dramatic changes in the dynamics of what has remained a grinding war of attrition could soon be possible. Some opposition forces seek to cast themselves as potential allies to outsiders who are opposed to both the Islamic State and the Syrian government, while others reject the idea of foreign intervention outright or demand that foreigners focus solely on toppling President Asad. Syrian officials have stated their conditional willingness to serve as partners with the international community in counterterrorism operations in Syria, a position that reflects their desire to create an image and role for the Asad government as a bulwark against Sunni Islamist extremism. For the United States and others examining options for weakening the Islamic State, these conditions raise questions about how best to pursue new counterterrorism and regional security goals without strengthening the Syrian government relative to the opposition groups and civilians it has brutalized during the conflict. Similar questions arise in relation to options for countering the Islamic State without bolstering other anti-U.S. Islamist groups. At present, anti-Asad armed forces and their activist counterparts remain divided over tactics, strategy, and their long-term political goals for Syria, with some powerful Islamist forces seeking outcomes that are contrary in significant ways to stated U.S. preferences for Syria's political future. The United Nations Security Council also seeks continued Syrian government cooperation with efforts to verifiably end Syria's chemical weapons program. As of September 2014, all declared chemical weapons had been removed from Syria, and all declared materials of priority concern had been destroyed. Related facilities are set for destruction by March 2015.

Armed Conflict in Syria

Armed Conflict in Syria Author Christopher M. Blanchard
ISBN-10 OCLC:873518157
Release 2014
Pages 16
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Armed Conflict in Syria

Armed Conflict in Syria Author Christopher M. Blanchard
ISBN-10 1505438195
Release 2015-01-03
Pages 34
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Fighting continues across Syria, pitting government forces and their foreign allies against a range of anti-government insurgents, some of whom also are fighting amongst themselves. Since March 2011, the conflict has driven more than 2.8 million Syrians into neighboring countries as refugees (out of a total population of more than 22 million). Millions more Syrians are internally displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance, of which the United States remains the largest bilateral provider, with more than $2 billion in funding identified to date. The United States also has allocated a total of $287 million to date to provide nonlethal assistance to select groups.

Al Qaeda s Global Crisis

Al Qaeda   s Global Crisis Author V. G. Julie Rajan
ISBN-10 9781317645382
Release 2015-01-30
Pages 354
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This book focuses on the crises facing Al Qaeda and how the mass killing of Muslims is challenging its credibility as a leader among Islamist jihadist organizations. The book argues that these crises are directly related to Al Qaeda’s affiliation with the extreme violence employed against Muslims in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the decade since 9/11. Al Qaeda’s public and private responses to this violence differ greatly. While in public Al Qaeda has justified those attacks declaring that, for the establishment of a state of ‘true believers’, they are a necessary evil, in private Al Qaeda has been advising its local affiliates to refrain from killing Muslims. To better understand the crises facing Al Qaeda, the book explores the development of Central Al Qaeda’s complex relationship with radical (mis)appropriations and manifestations of takfir, which allows one Muslim to declare another an unbeliever, and its unique relationship with each of its affiliates in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The author then goes on to consider how the prominence of takfir is contributing to the deteriorating security in those countries and how this is affecting Al Qaeda’s credibility as an Islamist terror organization. The book concludes by considering the long-term viability of Al Qaeda and how its demise could allow the rise of the even more radical, violent Islamic State and the implications this has for the future security of the Middle East, North Africa and Central/South Asia. This book will be of much interest to students of political violence and terrorism, Islamism, global security and IR.

HC 231 Counter Terrorism

HC 231   Counter Terrorism Author Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Home Affairs Committee
ISBN-10 9780215071958
Release 2014-05-09
Pages 112
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Recent events involving Boko Haram, Al-Shabab and Al Qaeda show that the terrorist threat to the UK is as grave as at any point in the past thirteen years. Interpol have the resources and experience to build a platform and the UK must take the lead in bringing others to the table. However, ensuring public safety cannot be the sole purview of the counterterrorism command and the security service, it is a responsibility in which all UK citizens and companies take a share. Stopping British men and women going to become foreign fighters, in Syria and other theatres of conflict, and engaging with them when they return is vital to avoid endangering the security of the UK. Whether in classrooms, local community centres, or through the global reach of the internet and social media, a clear message needs to be sent to those at risk. The agencies are at the cutting edge of sophistication and are owed an equally refined system of democratic scrutiny. It is an embarrassing indictment of our system that some in the media felt compelled to publish leaked information to ensure that matters were heard in Parliament. The Intelligence and Security Committee should be given a democratic mandate in the same way as other Select Committees

US Turkey Economic and Political Cooperation Handbook Strategic Information Programs and Developments

US   Turkey Economic and Political Cooperation Handbook   Strategic Information  Programs and Developments Author IBP, Inc.
ISBN-10 9781329164628
Release 2015
Pages 284
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US - Turkey Economic and Political Cooperation Handbook - Strategic Information, Programs and Developments

US Turkey Diplomatic and Political Cooperation Handbook Strategic Information and Developments

US   Turkey Diplomatic and Political Cooperation Handbook   Strategic Information and Developments Author IBP, Inc.
ISBN-10 9781329164611
Release 2015-07-12
Pages 282
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US - Turkey Diplomatic and Political Cooperation Handbook - Strategic Information and Developments

Internal Conflict Regions in the Middle East

Internal Conflict Regions in the Middle East Author Dana V. Gray
ISBN-10 1633212599
Release 2014-01-01
Pages 107
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Since the 2011 U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, sectarian divisions have widened, fuelling a revival of a Sunni Muslim insurgent challenge to Iraqs stability. Iraqs Sunni Arab Muslims resent Shiite political domination and perceived discrimination by the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Iraqs Kurds are embroiled in separate political disputes with the Baghdad government over territorial, political, and economic issues, particularly their intent to separately export large volumes of oil produced in the Kurdish region. Fighting also continues across Syria, pitting government forces and their foreign allies against a range of anti-government insurgents, some of whom also are fighting amongst themselves. The ongoing conflict that began in March 2011 in Syria has created one of the most pressing humanitarian crises in the world. Three years later, as of early March 2014, an estimated 9.3 million people inside Syria, nearly half the population, have been affected by the conflict. This book discusses the political, and internal conflicts of both Iraq and Syria. It provides information on the politics, governance, and human rights in Iraq; an overview of armed conflict in Syria, as well as the United States response; and an overview of the humanitarian response in Syria as well.

The Islamic State and U s Policy

The Islamic State and U s  Policy Author Congressional Research Service
ISBN-10 1548409081
Release 2017-06-28
Pages 42
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The Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL/ISIS, or the Arabic acronym Da'esh) is a transnational Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group that seized large areas of Iraq and Syria, has affiliates in several other countries, has attracted a network of global supporters, and disrupts international security with its campaigns of violence and terrorism. A U.S.-led coalition military campaign against the Islamic State organization in Iraq and Syria has evolved since 2014, reducing the area controlled by the group considerably and eliminating thousands of its personnel. While the Islamic State has suffered losses on the ground in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, a series of terrorist attacks attributed to the group or to individuals it has inspired have claimed hundreds of lives on four continents since November 2015, including in the United States. A number of countries, including the United States, share an interest in further weakening the group and preventing future attacks. Members of Congress, executive branch officials, and their international counterparts continue to debate a range of proposals for extending battlefield gains made to date and preventing the Islamic State from succeeding in its stated objectives of "remaining and expanding." President Obama's goals for U.S. strategy were to "degrade and ultimately defeat" the Islamic State through U.S. direct military action and support for local partner forces. President Donald Trump has directed his Administration "to develop a comprehensive plan to defeat" the group. The U.S. military continues to conduct operations against the group in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, while monitoring its affiliates and personnel elsewhere. Parallel U.S. diplomatic efforts have promoted political reconciliation among local factions in countries where Islamic State supporters are active. The United States also provides security assistance to partner governments in support of operations against Islamic State affiliates and to strengthen the ability of partners to deter and respond to Islamic State attacks. Evolving counterterrorism cooperation and intelligence sharing efforts among a wider network of concerned governments seek to further limit the ability of IS supporters to carry out transnational terrorist attacks. The interdependent nature of conflicts and political crises in Iraq, Syria, and other countries where the Islamic State operates complicates efforts to address and durably eliminate the threats posed by the group. Military operations may eliminate IS fighters and liberate IS-held territory, but underlying political disputes and development challenges that have been exploited by the Islamic State and other extremist groups may remain unaddressed or become amplified if post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction needs go unmet. Governments may continue to share fears about IS-related transnational terrorist threats, but leaders also may continue to face difficult decisions about the potential risks and rewards of military, law enforcement, surveillance, intelligence sharing, financial, border security, refugee admission, and consular countermeasures. This report provides background on the Islamic State organization, discusses its goals, operations, and affiliates, reviews U.S. legislative and policy debates, and reviews relevant legislation from the 114th and 115th Congresses (S. 2943, H.R. 2029, and H.R. 244). For more information, see CRS Report RL33487, Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response, also available in print at

The Syria Train and Equip Program

The Syria Train and Equip Program Author Mandel Eugene
ISBN-10 1634841085
Release 2016-01-01
Pages 106
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In 2014, Congress for the first time provided the President with authority and funds to overtly train and lethally equip vetted members of the Syrian opposition for select purposes. These purposes include supporting U.S. efforts to combat the Islamic State and other terrorist organisations in Syria and setting the conditions for a negotiated settlement to Syrias civil war. The FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act and the FY2015 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 provided that up to $500 million could be transferred from the newly-established Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund (CTPF) to train and equip such Syrian forces. Additional funding could be provided from other sources for the Syrian Train and Equip Program, including from foreign contributions, subject to the approval of the congressional defense committees. This book discusses the authorities, the funding, and issues for Congress of the Train and Equip Program for Syria. Moreover, the book provides an overview of armed conflict in Syria, and the U.S. response.

Conflict Zones

Conflict Zones Author Antoine Haney
ISBN-10 1624170544
Release 2013
Pages 89
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Syria is now mired in an armed conflict between forces loyal to President Bashar al Asad and rebel fighters opposed to his rule. Since major unrest began in March 2011, various reports suggest that between 22,000 and 25,000 Syrians have been killed. U.S. officials and many analysts believe that President Bashar al Asad, his family members, and his other supporters will ultimately be forced from power, but few offer specific, credible timetables for a resolution to Syria's ongoing crisis. The West African country of Mali is also mired in overlapping crises. A military coup overthrew Mali's democratically elected government in March 2012 and insurgent groups seized its vast and sparsely populated northern territory. This book provides an overview on the conflict zones of Syria and Mali with a focus on U.S. and international responses.

Law and War in Syria

Law and War in Syria Author Claudia Tofan
ISBN-10 9058870596
Release 2013
Pages 640
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Includes an introduction to and analysis of the current crisis (54 pages), and the texts of several international legal documents related to the crisis in Syria (585 pages).

Global Security Watch Syria

Global Security Watch  Syria Author Fred Haley Lawson
ISBN-10 9780313359576
Release 2013
Pages 194
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This timely study examines the forces at play in one of the world's most explosive nations, helping readers understand why Syria's popular uprising has been the most violent and hard-fought in the Middle East.

Peace and Conflict 2016

Peace and Conflict 2016 Author David Backer
ISBN-10 9781317232520
Release 2016-06-10
Pages 238
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An authoritative source of information on violent conflicts and peacebuilding processes around the world, Peace and Conflict is an annual publication of the University of Maryland’s Center for International Development and Conflict Management and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva). The contents of the 2016 edition are divided into three sections: » Global Patterns and Trends provides an overview of recent advances in scholarly research on various aspects of conflict and peace, as well as chapters on armed conflict, violence against civilians, non-state armed actors, democracy and ethnic exclusion, terrorism, defense spending and arms production and procurement, peace agreements, state repression, foreign aid, and the results of the Peace & Conflict Instability Ledger, which ranks the status and progress of more than 160 countries based on their forecasted risk of future instability. » Special Feature spotlights work on measuring micro-level welfare effects of exposure to conflict. » Profiles has been enlarged to survey developments in instances of civil wars, peacekeeping missions, and international criminal justice proceedings that were active around the world during 2014. Frequent visualizations of data in full-color, large-format tables, graphs, and maps bring the analysis to life and amplify crucial developments in real-world events and the latest findings in research. The contributors include many leading scholars in the field from the US and Europe.

Minority Rights in the Middle East

Minority Rights in the Middle East Author Joshua Castellino
ISBN-10 9780191668883
Release 2013-04-25
Pages 456
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Within the Middle East there are a wide range of minority groups outside the mainstream religious and ethnic culture. This book provides a detailed examination of their rights as minorities within this region, and their changing status throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The rights of minorities in the Middle East are subject to a range of legal frameworks, having developed in part from Islamic law, and in recent years subject to international human rights law and institutional frameworks. The book examines the context in which minority rights operate within this conflicted region, investigating how minorities engage with (or are excluded from) various sites of power and how state practice in dealing with minorities (often ostensibly based on Islamic authority) intersects with and informs modern constitutionalism and international law. The book identifies who exactly can be classed as a minority group, analysing in detail the different religious and ethnic minorities across the region. The book also pays special attention to the plight of minorities who are spread between various states, often as the result of conflict. It assesses the applicable domestic legislative instruments within the three countries investigated as case studies: Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, and highlights key domestic remedies that could serve as models for ensuring greater social cohesion and greater inclusion of minorities in the political life of these countries.