War and Conflict Articles

A U.S. special operations forces soldier leads Iraqi special operations forces while practicing movement techniques, Baqubah, Iraq, April 6, 2011 (photo by Flickr user DVIDSHUB used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

Role Reversal: U.S. Special Operations Forces After the Long War

By Steven Metz
, , Feature

The 9/11 attacks propelled irregular threats and unconventional responses to the forefront of U.S. strategy, making special operations forces the star of the show. Now, as U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan winds down, the question is whether SOF will return to playing a supporting role. more


Diplomatic Fallout

At U.N., Russia Is Now the Indispensable Nation

By Richard Gowan
, , Column

Commentators in the U.S. and Europe increasingly fear that Russia is set on a destructive course. Yet Western diplomats at the U.N. are often impressed by Russian maneuvers there. A recent spurt of diplomacy in particular demonstrated Moscow’s continued ability to use the U.N. to its advantage. more

Global Insider

Myanmar Fighting Imperils Broader Peace Efforts With Ethnic Rebels

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

Ongoing clashes in Myanmar between ethnic Kokang rebels and government forces near the Chinese border have so far left over 160 dead. In an email interview, Jasmin Lorch, a research fellow at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies, discussed ethnic rebels in Myanmar. more

Strategic Horizons

Making Libya a U.N. Protectorate Would Be Wise but Impossible

By Steven Metz
, , Column

Libya is a mess and rapidly getting worse, as the Islamic State moves in. Only one option has even a theoretical chance of turning Libya around: a United Nations protectorate. But there are very few nations with enough surplus military power to commit to what could be a very long-term operation. more

Libya Needs More Than Unity Government to Halt IS Rise

By Mohamed Eljarh
, , Briefing

Four years after the revolution began to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, Libya today faces a new and very real threat: militants affiliated with the Islamic State. But the group’s advance must be understood in the wider context of Libya’s civil war, and Libyans cannot tackle it alone. more

Strategic Horizons

The U.S. Must Prepare for the Dissolution of Iraq

By Steven Metz
, , Column

Iraq is an artificial creation cobbled together from provinces of the old Ottoman Empire by outsiders. Dissolution into three parts—a Sunni Arab west, a Kurdish north and a Shiite section in the south—is so likely that American strategists should be thinking about how to respond. more

Country Report

Moment of Truth: Sri Lanka’s Chance for Reconciliation

By Charu Lata Hogg
, , Report

Editor’s note: It came to our attention after this report was published that it contained several passages closely resembling or directly duplicating previously published work by other authors, as well as previously published work by the author. After initially amending the report to include the missing attributions, we subsequently decided to remove the article. WPR regrets the error, and we apologize to the authors concerned and our readers.
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The Realist Prism

Crises in Ukraine, Libya Confront NATO With Risk of Division

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, , Column

This past weekend, militants in Libya aligned with the so-called Islamic State brutally executed 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. Even as most of Europe’s attention remains focused on the east and the fighting in Ukraine, the horrific murders highlight the threat the continent faces to the south. more

Strategic Horizons

U.S. Civil-Military Relations’ Neglected Component: Congress

By Steven Metz
, , Column

When Americans think of civil-military relations, what jumps to mind is the interaction of the armed services and the president. But in many ways, the relationship with Congress is more complicated, since it lacks the clear chain of command that defines the military’s dealings with the executive. more