Small Wars Journal

A Global Strategy for Combating al Qaeda and the Islamic State

A Global Strategy for Combating al Qaeda and the Islamic State by Mary Habeck with James Jay Carafano, Thomas Donnelly, Bruce Hoffman, Seth Jones, Frederick W. Kagan, Kimberly Kagan, Thomas Mahnken, and Katherine Zimmerman, American Enterprise Institute

Key Points

  • Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS) are no longer on the run in the Middle East and represent an increasingly serious threat to the United States. However, American leaders still have not recognized the nature of this war and have a dangerous misconception of the threat.
  • The most important reason for the growth in the reach and power of al Qaeda and ISIS is the decision by the United States to retreat from a direct fight, downgrade our involvement from a wartime to law enforcement effort, and focus narrowly on preventing attacks on the homeland.
  • To address the probable enemy courses of action and defeat ISIS and al Qaeda, the US must adopt a counterinsurgency strategy that will have ideological, security, diplomatic, economic, and political components and will be carried out on a regional basis. Involvement must be both long-term and continuous.

Read the full report.

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