Thursday, June 27, 2013

Video: Iranian Strategy in Syria - June 27, 2013

The third in a series of briefings hosted by the American Enterprise Institute,
the Institute for the Study of War, and the Reserve Officers Association.

Iranian Strategy in Syria



Panelists
Kimberly Kaganpresident, Institute for the Study of War 
Will Fultonanalyst, Critical Threats Project 
Joseph Hollidayfellow, Institute for the Study of War  
Marisa Sullivan, fellow, Institute for the Study of War
The Islamic Republic of Iran has conducted an extensive, expensive, and integrated effort to keep President Bashar al Assad in power as long as possible while setting conditions to retain its ability to use Syrian territory and assets to pursue its regional interests should Assad fall. The Iranian security and intelligence services are advising and assisting the Syrian military in order to preserve Bashar al Assad’s hold on power. Iran has been providing essential military supplies to Assad, primarily by air, making the air line of communication between Iran and Syria a key vulnerability for Tehran’s strategy in Syria. Iran is also assisting pro-government shabiha militias, partly to hedge against Assad’s fall or the contraction of the regime into Damascus and a coastal Alawite enclave. 


Will Fulton, Joseph Holliday, Marisa Sullivan, and Kimberly Kagan, led a discussion on Iranian activity in Syria and Lebanon

Lebanese Hezbollah began to take on a more direct combat role in Syria as the Assad regime began losing control over Syrian territory in 2012, and their involvement rapidly escalated in May 2013 with the assault on al Qusayr. Iraqi Shi‘a militants are also now fighting in Syria in support of Assad. The open participation of Iraqi Shi‘a militants in Syria is an alarming indicator of the expansion of sectarian conflict throughout the region. 
The forecast of Iran's investment in the Syrian conflict was covered in detaill

The Syrian conflict has already constrained Iran’s influence in the Levant, and the fall of the Assad regime would further reduce Tehran’s ability to project power. Iran’s hedging strategy aims to ensure, however, that it can continue to pursue its vital interests if and when the regime collapses, using parts of Syria as a base as long as the Syrian opposition fails to establish full control over all of Syrian territory.
The panelists took questions on Iranian capabilities in the Levant and American policy options
Past Events
Defining the Threat Series LaunchMarch 21, 2013   
Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria, April 18, 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Upcoming Briefing: Iranian Strategy in Syria - June 27, 2013

The third in a series of briefings hosted by the American Enterprise Institute,
the Institute for the Study of War, and the Reserve Officers Association.

Iranian Strategy in Syria

Thursday, June 27, 2013, 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Reserve Officers Association
One Constitution Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Please click here to RSVP. Lunch will be served.

Panelists

Kimberly Kagan, president, Institute for the Study of War

Will Fulton, analyst, Critical Threats Project

Joseph Holliday, fellow, Institute for the Study of War

Marisa Sullivan, fellow, Institute for the Study of War

The Islamic Republic of Iran has conducted an extensive, expensive, and integrated effort to keep President Bashar al Assad in power as long as possible while setting conditions to retain its ability to use Syrian territory and assets to pursue its regional interests should Assad fall. The Iranian security and intelligence services are advising and assisting the Syrian military in order to preserve Bashar al Assad’s hold on power. Iran has been providing essential military supplies to Assad, primarily by air, making the air line of communication between Iran and Syria a key vulnerability for Tehran’s strategy in Syria. Iran is also assisting pro-government shabiha militias, partly to hedge against Assad’s fall or the contraction of the regime into Damascus and a coastal Alawite enclave. 

Lebanese Hezbollah began to take on a more direct combat role in Syria as the Assad regime began losing control over Syrian territory in 2012, and their involvement rapidly escalated in May 2013 with the assault on al Qusayr. Iraqi Shi‘a militants are also now fighting in Syria in support of Assad. The open participation of Iraqi Shi‘a militants in Syria is an alarming indicator of the expansion of sectarian conflict throughout the region. 

The Syrian conflict has already constrained Iran’s influence in the Levant, and the fall of the Assad regime would further reduce Tehran’s ability to project power. Iran’s hedging strategy aims to ensure, however, that it can continue to pursue its vital interests if and when the regime collapses, using parts of Syria as a base as long as the Syrian opposition fails to establish full control over all of Syrian territory.

Past Events

Defining the Threat Series LaunchMarch 21, 2013   

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Video-Defining the Threat: al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria

Panelists
Kimberly Kaganpresident of the Institute for the Study of War
Ahmed Aliresearch analyst, Institute for the Study of War
Elizabeth O'Bagysenior research analyst, Institute for the Study of War
Katherine Zimmermansenior analyst, Critical Threats Project
Al Qaeda is back in Iraq, and its reach has expanded up the Euphrates deep into Syria.  
Sectarian provocations by Iraq's Shi'a Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki are precipitating the collapse of the political settlement that had brought Iraq's Sunni Arabs into the political process in 2007.  
ISW Research Analyst Ahmed Ali briefs attendees on AQI and Anti-Maliki Protests in Iraq
Unrest has engulfed Sunni strongholds in Anbar, Ninewah, Diyala, and Salah-ad-Din Provinces, and Sunni Arabs have been protesting Malikiâs actions continuously for more than 100 days.  Al Qaeda in Iraq has launched a significant campaign of spectacular attacks against Shi'a targets, as well as positioned itself to exploit the popular sentiment against the government and regenerate insurgency.  
As the Iraqi political scene unravels, al Qaeda in Iraq will be able to better secure its positions in the country, and will continue support for its front-group in Syria, Jabhat al Nusra. The effect on the Syrian conflict is clear: the opposition, unified in its fight against the Assad regime, is divided over the future shape of Syria. Secular and radical elements have already sparred over control of opposition-held territory.  
The expansion of al Qaeda in Syria combined with the revitalization of al Qaeda in Iraq poses a real threat to American interests throughout the Middle East and a major challenge to Western policy in Syria as well as Iraq.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Upcoming Briefing: Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria- April 18, 2013


The second in the Defining the Threat briefings series hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, the Institute for the Study of War, and the Reserve Officers Association. Lunch will be served.

Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM (EDT)
Reserve Officers Association
1 Constitution Avenue Northeast 
Washington, DC 20002

Panelists
Kimberly Kaganpresident of the Institute for the Study of War
Ahmed Aliresearch analyst, Institute for the Study of War
Elizabeth O'Bagysenior research analyst, Institute for the Study of War
Katherine Zimmermansenior analyst, Critical Threats Project

Al Qaeda is back in Iraq, and its reach has expanded up the Euphrates deep into Syria.  
Sectarian provocations by Iraq's Shi'a Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki are precipitating the collapse of the political settlement that had brought Iraqâs Sunni Arabs into the political process in 2007.  
Unrest has engulfed Sunni strongholds in Anbar, Ninewah, Diyala, and Salah-ad-Din Provinces, and Sunni Arabs have been protesting Maliki's actions continuously for more than 100 days.  Al Qaeda in Iraq has launched a significant campaign of spectacular attacks against Shi'a targets, as well as positioned itself to exploit the popular sentiment against the government and regenerate insurgency.  
As the Iraqi political scene unravels, al Qaeda in Iraq will be able to better secure its positions in the country, and will continue support for its front-group in Syria, Jabhat al Nusra. The effect on the Syrian conflict is clear: the opposition, unified in its fight against the Assad regime, is divided over the future shape of Syria. Secular and radical elements have already sparred over control of opposition-held territory.  
The expansion of al Qaeda in Syria combined with the revitalization of al Qaeda in Iraq poses a real threat to American interests throughout the Middle East and a major challenge to Western policy in Syria as well as Iraq.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

'Defining the Threat' Briefing Series Launch

Photo by Henry E. Plimack
The U.S. faces many threats and challenges in the world today. 
Despite the testimony of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stating that the core al Qaeda group in Pakistan has been significantly weakened, the broader al Qaeda network continues to pose a direct threat to U.S. national security. 
The Iranian regime is also engaged in efforts to undermine the United States and is pursuing a full-spectrum strategy to influence events in Syria. 
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) have partnered with the Reserve Officers Association (ROA) to provide a series of educational briefings on threats facing the United States today. ISW and AEIâs Critical Threats Project current research portfolios focus broadly on the threats from Iran and from the al Qaeda network, as well as up-to-date assessments on regional conflicts such as the Syrian civil war.
The launch event for the Defining the Threat series will cover the threat from al Qaeda and its associated movements and from Iran, two of the most serious challenges to American national security. Lunch will be served.
Frederick W. Kagandirector of AEI's Critical Threats Project
Kimberly Kaganpresident of the Institute for the Study of War
Katherine Zimmermansenior analyst, Critical Threats Project
Sasha Gordonanalyst, Critical Threats Project
Maseh Zarifdeputy director, Critical Threats Project
Will Fultonanalyst, Critical Threats Project

Agenda

Overview and Regional Context | Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan
Photo by Henry E. Plimack
The research teams from the Institute for the Study of War and AEIâs Critical Threats Project track developments in the western Muslim world because that area contains the most important states and groups actively working to attack American interests. Two over-arching regional phenomena increase instability in the region and create conditions propitious to the growth of enemy groups: the Sunni-Shiâa sectarian conflict and the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Al Qaeda and Associated Movements | Katherine Zimmerman

Photo by Henry E. Plimack
The al Qaeda network extends beyond the core group and its named affiliates. Understanding the relationships between al Qaeda, its affiliates, and associated movements is key to developing a strategy that will eventually lead to the defeat of al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula | Sasha Gordon
Photo by Henry E. Plimack
The Yemen-based al Qaeda affiliate poses the greatest direct threat to the United States out of the al Qaeda network. It remains capable of pursuing international attacks even when under limited pressure. It is not clear that the current strategy to combat AQAP will be effective in the long term.

The Iranian Nuclear Program | Maseh Zarif
Photo by Henry E. Plimack

Iran is at the threshold of a robust nuclear weapons capability and has made significant progress in mastering the most difficult element of that capability. Increasing sanctions, negotiations, and policy declarations have not altered the overall trajectory of Iranâs nuclear drive.

Iranian Strategy and Operations in Syria | Will Fulton
Photo by Henry E. Plimack

Iran has implemented a full-spectrum strategy in Syria, including diplomatic, financial, intelligence, and military components. The depth of Iranian involvement in Syria suggests that the regime does not feel it is facing an immediate internal or external threat.

Future Event
April 18, 2013

Friday, March 1, 2013

About The 'Defining The Threat' Briefing Series


The U.S. faces many threats and challenges in the world today.

Despite the testimony of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stating that the core al Qaeda group in Pakistan has been significantly weakened, the broader al Qaeda network continues to pose a direct threat to U.S. national security.

The Iranian regime is also engaged in efforts to undermine the United States and is pursuing a full-spectrum strategy to influence events in Syria.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) have partnered with the Reserve Officers Association (ROA) to provide a series of educational briefings on threats facing the United States today.
ISW and AEI's Critical Threats Project current research portfolios focus broadly on the threats from Iran and from the al Qaeda network, as well as up-to-date assessments on regional conflicts such as the Syrian civil war.