Small Wars Journal

U.S. Strategy in Syria Is Dangerously Adrift

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 2:43pm

U.S. Strategy in Syria Is Dangerously Adrift by Christopher J. Bolan – Foreign Policy Research Institute

After years of aerial bombardment by coalition forces and intense ground battles fought by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, the Islamic State in Iraq & Syria (ISIS) has been ousted from every inch of territory in Syria. Although analysts are right to caution that this does not mean the threat from ISIS has been eliminated altogether, the collapse of the physical ISIS caliphate nonetheless marks a significant military accomplishment and transition point for U.S. strategy in Syria. U.S. policymakers cannot afford to rest easy. Transforming this military victory into a durable and successful political outcome in Syria calls for a fundamental re-assessment of where U.S. strategy and been and where it needs to go. Unfortunately, America’s broader strategy for Syria has lacked clear attainable political objectives and has suffered from the absence of a longer-term vision for the future of Syria.


The absence of a feasible American strategy that looks beyond the narrow issue of ISIS undermines U.S. regional leadership, places remaining U.S. troops in Syria at unnecessary risk for undefined goals, and will likely only prolong the suffering of the Syrian people. This article briefly traces the evolution of America’s strategy since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, highlights the primary shortcomings of current U.S. strategy, and offers recommendations for needed adjustments in America’s approach to the vexing set of security challenges emerging from Syria…

Read on.