Small Wars Journal

Islamic State

Lead Inspector General for Operation Inherent Resolve Quarterly Report to the United States Congress | October 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020

A roundup of the conflict in against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

Topics Include:

Partner Forces

The state of ISIS in Iraq and Syria

Troop Reductions

 

 

Link: https://www.dodig.mil/In-the-Spotlight/Article/2497908/lead-inspector-general-for-operation-inherent-resolve-quarterly-report-to-the-u/

Riley.C.Murray Thu, 02/11/2021 - 7:48pm
RAND: The Air War Against The Islamic State

Full Report: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA388-1.html

Airpower played a pivotal role in the U.S.-led fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from 2014 to 2019 and contributed to the success of Operation Inherent Resolve. This report sheds light on the impact of the air operations in Operation Inherent Resolve and whether airpower could have been applied differently to achieve faster, more-sustainable outcomes. The authors incorporate interviews with U.S. and coalition personnel, primary-source documents, and U.S. and coalition strike and sortie data to document the operational history of the air war, assess the relationship between airpower effects, and analyze the strategic and operational impact of airpower in Operation Inherent Resolve.

The authors find that, although airpower played an essential role in combating ISIS, airpower alone would not have been likely to defeat the militant organization. Instead, the combination of airpower and ground forces—led by Iraqi and Syrian partners—was needed to destroy the Islamic State as a territorial entity. The overarching strategy of Operation Inherent Resolve, which put ground-force partners in the lead, created several challenges and innovations in the application of airpower, which have implications for future air wars. To be prepared to meet future demands against nonstate and near-peer adversaries, the U.S. Air Force and the joint force should apply lessons learned from Operation Inherent Resolve.

Riley.C.Murray Fri, 02/05/2021 - 9:55pm

Clues to Al-Baghdadi's Successor

Fri, 12/13/2019 - 10:10am
Abu Ibrahim al Hashimi al-Qurayshi is a new alias for ISIL’s new leader designed to obscure his identityand prevent targeting by counter-terrorism forces. There is a good chance that Amir Muhammed Sa’eed al-Mawla, also known as Hajji Abdullah al-‘Afri, is the new ISIL emir. This article explains what this succession means for ISIL and the world, and what we can glean from the announcement of the new leader.

About the Author(s)

Salafi Jihadism and Chemical Weapons Attacks: Ideological Contrasts and Strategic Constraints

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 1:07am
Chemical weapons attacks remain an uncommon choice for militant and terrorist organizations targeting Western countries. Their rarity makes them an attractive option, as the shock factor associated chemical weapons attacks plays into the main goal of any terrorist attack: to instill fear and insecurity in the population.

About the Author(s)

Getting off: The Implications of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues Among Former ISIS Fighters for Counterterrorism and Deradicalization

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 11:33am
One essential aspect affecting individual risk is mental health, such as for example the role of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, that has been found to significantly increase the threat posed by returning foreign fighters. Furthermore, as it happened throughout history when fighting forces were facing superior opponents and ultimate defeat on the battlefield during “final stands”, the use of drugs to enhance fanaticism, physical strength and to prevent fatigue, hunger, thirst and exhaustion was also reportedly present among IS’s fighters. The substance of choice for IS, Captagon or fenethylline, was so famous among the group’s fighters, that it was used even during terror attacks, for example in the November 2015 Paris attacks.

About the Author(s)

Primer: Terrorist Usage of Twitter and Social Media

Thu, 03/28/2019 - 3:56am
"As terror groups such as ISIS gain more experience using social media platforms, the structure of posts and the methods used to promote the posts are becoming similar to the strategies a business would use to promote a product on those platforms. Although, the groups can’t directly mimic a business. They generally are blocked from using straightforward promotion tools put in place by the platform, such as advertisements or paid promotions. Groups like ISIS also tend to violate the terms of service for the social media platforms they are using. Much like the battle between cyber attacks and cyber security, terrorist organizations are continually adapting to circumvent detection and removal by the platforms they are using."

About the Author(s)