War and Conflict Articles

Strategic Horizons

U.S. Strategy for Defeating the Islamic State Group Won't Work

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry poses with his Arab counterparts after a meeting with them in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 11, 2014 (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool).
By Steven Metz
, , Column

President Barack Obama’s strategy for dealing with the Islamic State group appeals to a weary nation, but it is unlikely to work because it violates two cardinal rules of strategy: The resources are not commensurate with the objectives, and the coalition’s objectives are not in sync. more

Strategic Posture Review: South Korea

By Richard Weitz
, , Report

As a fully democratic and developed country, South Korea has realized its aspirations to become a major international player. Nonetheless, the persistent threat from North Korea, along with the challenge of having three of the world’s most powerful countries as neighbors, continues to constrain South Korea.

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Boko Haram, Corruption Purges Put Cameroon on Edge

By Alex Thurston
, , Briefing

Alongside the political risks of President Paul Biya’s desire to stay in power indefinitely, two short-term problems stoke anxiety in Cameroon: the potential for destructive escalation in the fight with Boko Haram, and the ambiguous effects of an aggressive anti-corruption campaign. more

Waiting for Disruption: The Western Sahara Stalemate

By Jacob Mundy
, , Feature

The Western Sahara conflict is fast approaching its 40th anniversary with no end in sight. A web of geopolitical interests keeps the conflict in a permanent state of limbo. Therein lies the paradox: The peace process now exists to contain the conflict, but only a crisis will save Western Sahara. more

Despite Saakashvili Prosecution, Georgia Moves West

By David Klion
, , Trend Lines

Last month, Georgian prosecutors filed charges against former President Mikheil Saakashvili for misallocating public funds while in office. While Saakashvili is strongly identified with Georgia’s pro-Western foreign policy, the new government in Tbilisi has only intensified this policy. more

Strategic Horizons

Assessing Obama’s Legacy in National Security Policy

By Steven Metz
, , Column

Obama’s national security legacy will be an important benchmark for future American national security strategy. If seen as a success, it will serve as a model. If seen as a general failure, it will offer a warning. Therefore it is important to begin thinking about it now. more

Global Insider

Peace With the PKK High Priority for Erdogan Presidency

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

In an email interview, Mehmet Ümit Necef, associate professor at the Centre for Contemporary Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Southern Denmark, discussed the prospect of peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) under the Erdogan presidency. more

Strategic Horizons

The Price of Defeating the Islamic State

By Steven Metz
, , Column

Destroying the Islamic State would be a very good thing. The danger is that American political leaders and strategic thinkers will reprise their tradition of overestimating U.S. power and underestimating the costs of destroying a fanatical transnational terrorist organization. more

Special Report

Zero Solutions: Challenges Mount for Erdogan's Turkey

By The Editors
, , Report

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s shift from the prime ministership to the presidency symbolizes a deeper shift for Turkey. While Erdogan has made progress towards peace with the Kurdish minority, he faces criticism for an increasingly autocratic ruling style, and Turkey’s international relations are under strain.

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Gains by Assad and Islamic State Leave Syrian Rebels Down, but Not Out

By Balint Szlanko
, , Briefing

Syria’s moderate rebels are in trouble. Nearly encircled in their main bastion of Aleppo by the forces of Bashar al-Assad’s government and under pressure by Islamic State fighters, they are also weakened by internal rifts and little external support. Yet they are fighting back, and the strength of their enemies may be exaggerated. With more Western aid, the rebels could still come back. more