Lessons of the Iraqi De-Ba'athification Program for Iraq's Future and the Arab Revolutions Authored by: Dr W Andrew Terrill. May 01, 2012


This monograph considers both the future of Iraq and the differences and similarities between events in Iraq and the Arab Spring states. The author analyzes the nature of Iraqi de-Ba’athification and carefully evaluates the rationales and results of actions taken by both Americans and Iraqis involved in the process. While there are many differences between the formation of Iraq’s post-Saddam Hussein government and the current efforts of some Arab Spring governing bodies to restructure their political institutions, it is possible to identify parallels between Iraq and Arab Spring countries. As in Iraq, new Arab Spring governments will have to apportion power, build or reform key institutions, establish political legitimacy for those institutions, and accommodate the enhanced expectations of their publics in a post-revolutionary environment. A great deal can go wrong in these circumstances, and any lessons that can be gleaned from earlier conflicts will be of considerable value to those nations facing these problems, as well as their regional and extra-regional allies seeking to help them. Moreover, officers and senior noncommissioned officers of the U.S. Army must realize that they may often have unique opportunities and unique credibility to offer advice on the lessons of Iraq to their counterparts in some of the Arab Spring nations.

Contemporary Chemical Weapons Use in Syria and Iraq by the Assad Regime and the Islamic State Authored by: Dr Robert J Bunker. February 07, 2019


This monograph focuses on an understudied, but yet a critically important and timely component of land warfare, related to the battlefield use of chemical weapons by contemporary threat forces. It will do so by focusing on two case studies related to chemical weapons use in Syria and Iraq by the Assad regime and the Islamic State. Initially, the monograph provides an overview of the chemical warfare capabilities of these two entities; discusses selected incidents of chemical weapons use each has perpetrated; provides analysis and lessons learned concerning these chemical weapons incidents, their programs, and the capabilities of the Assad regime and the Islamic State; and then presents U.S. Army policy and planning considerations on this topical areas of focus. Ultimately, such considerations must be considered vis-à-vis U.S. Army support of Joint Force implementation of National Command Authority guidance.

Turkey and the United States on the Brink: Implications for NATO and the US-Turkish Strategic and Military Partnership Authored by: Dr. Kamal A. Beyoghlow. January 08, 2020

This monograph analyzes the current political tensions between the United States and Turkey and suggests ways to manage them. The two countries have been strategic allies since at least the end of World War II—Turkey became a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member and participated with its military forces in the Korea War, and during the Cold War protected NATO’s southern flank against Soviet communism, and Turkey’s military and intelligence services maintained close relationships with their Western and Israeli counterparts. These relationships were not without problems, due mostly to differences over minority and civil rights in Turkey and over Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1973 and continued tensions with Greece. The special relationship with the United States was put to the final test after the Islamic conservative populist political party, Justice and Development, and its current leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, came to power in 2002. Turkey opposed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the NATO-backed regime change in Libya in 2011. Most recently, Turkey has had strained relations with Cyprus, Greece, and Israel—all key US allies—and has alienated the US Congress and select NATO members further by its October 2019 invasion of Syria against Kurdish forces aligned with the US military against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, all against a background of a military rapprochement with Russia. This monograph highlights differences between US agencies concerning Turkey and ways to reconcile them, and offers several policy recommendations for new directions.

Professionalizing the Iraqi Army: US Engagement after the Islamic State Authored by: Dr C. A. Pfaff. January 28, 2020


The United States has spent—and continues to spend—billions of dollars building Iraq’s military capabilities. Despite that fact, Iraq’s military performance, even after wresting control of its territory from the Islamic State, remains inconsistent at best. A survey of Iraqi military history suggests a pattern of strengths, weaknesses, and performance that includes courageous soldiers, cohesive units, incompetent leaders, divided loyalties, poor combat support, and weak institutions that have, on occasion, risen to the defense challenge. If the United States is going to be more successful in developing Iraqi military capabilities, it will need to change its approach to better account for the Iraqi Army’s culture, history, and political environment.

The United States will also have to be clear regarding the purpose of this cooperation. Security cooperation with Iraq is not just about defeating the Islamic State or other terrorist groups. The United States stands to gain when Iraq can play a constructive security role as an accepted member of the broader regional and international community. Iran cannot get the Iraqi military to that point, but the United States can. Thus, the long-term goal of US security cooperation with Iraq should be to establish its military as a valuable security partner, capable of participating in regional security arrangements, much in the same way Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and even Oman does. Of course, getting to that point depends on political developments the United States has limited ability to influence, much less control. Having said that, continued, steady engagement emphasizing the critical areas of development should serve to set conditions for meaningful improvement when political and social conditions permit. While no single measure is going to improve the Iraqi Army, taken together, the right combination give the Iraqi Army a chance to achieve a “tipping point” that enables the kind of reform that can allow it to get beyond its historic limitations.

Nonstate Actors and Anti-Access/Area Denial Strategies: The Coming Challenge Authored by: Dr Jean-Loup Samaan. February 06, 2020


This monograph explores the emerging challenge of nonstate actors’ anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) strategies and their implications for the United States and its allies by looking at two regions, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, with case studies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Houthis in Yemen, and separatist groups in Ukraine.
The historical monopoly of states over precision-guided munitions has eroded, and this evolution eventually challenges the ability of the most advanced militaries to operate in specific environments. As they gain greater access to advanced military technology, some nonstate actors increasingly lean toward A2/AD strategies. The study underlines three key parameters to assess these emerging nonstate A2/AD strategies: a political shift toward the preservation of status quo vis-à-vis opponents; a focus of military resources dedicated to A2/AD capabilities—primarily missiles and rockets; and the adaptation of military units responsible for the implementation of this new strategy. The development of nonstate A2/AD postures currently remains dependent on the ability of the nonstate actors to attract state sponsorship. Without state sponsorship, these emerging nonstate A2/AD strategies would hardly constitute a major threat. Bearing this precondition in mind, if a scenario of multiple nonstate A2/AD “bubbles” were to unfold, the United States and its allies could face unprecedented challenges, especially in the field of counterterrorism campaigns.

Maneuvering the Saudi-Iranian Rivalry in the Middle East: How the United States Can Preserve and Protect Its Long-Term Interests in the Region Authored by: Mr Gregory Aftandilian. November 15, 2018


This monograph examines the conflicts in the Middle East region between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the so-called proxy wars that are being fought between them, and discusses ways that the United States needs to maneuver carefully in this struggle to preserve its long-term interests in the area. Although Washington has political, economic, and strategic equities with Riyadh, it needs to think carefully about being perceived as engaging in sectarian strife that would alienate Shia allies in Iraq, show bias in its human rights policy, and anger millions of Iranian young people who want better relations with the United States.

A Policy Response to Islamic State Extremist Fighter Battlefield Migration Authored by: Dr Robert J Bunker. August 31, 2020

This monograph analyzes and provides policy response options for US national security and Army planners concerning the potential for postterritorial caliphate battlefield migration by the sizable contingent of battle-hardened Islamic State foreign fighters situated within various remaining enclaves that remain in Syria and Iraq.

War and Insurgency in the Western Sahara Authored by: Geoffrey Jensen. May 01, 2013

Home to the largest functional military barrier in the world, the Western Sahara has a long history of colonial conquest and resistance, guerrilla warfare and counterinsurgency, and evolving strategic thought. This monograph explores the past, present, and future of the region, including its relationship to developments in Morocco, Algeria, and elsewhere in North Africa.

At a crucial crossroads between Africa and Europe, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and the "Arab World" and the West, Morocco has long had a special place in U.S. diplomacy and strategic planning. Since September 11, 2001, Morocco's importance to the United States has only increased, and the more recent uncertainties of the Arab Spring and Islamist extremism have further increased the value of the Moroccan-American alliance. Yet one of the pillars of the legitimacy of the Moroccan monarchy, its claim to the Western Sahara, remains a point of violent contention. Home to the largest functional military barrier in the world, the Western Sahara has a long history of colonial conquest and resistance, guerrilla warfare and counterinsurgency, and evolving strategic thought, and its future may prove critical to U.S. interests in the region.

Rise and Fall? The Rise and Fall of ISIS in Libya Authored by: Dr Azeem Ibrahim. August 07, 2020

This monograph places events in Libya since 2011 into their historical and social context and argues a form of radical Islamism, linked to long-standing national defiance of outside control, remains a factor even after the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This entrenched radicalism means extremist Islamist groups may still make a renewed bid for power until the current civil war is resolved. At the time of this writing, the military campaign by the Libyan National Army has stalled outside Tripoli. Now is the time for the United States and the wider international community to step up and help Libya transition to a unitary government with conventional elections. If this fails to happen and ISIS is able to exploit the current chaos, the hard-won victory over the group in Libya may yet turn out to have been illusory.

Parameters VOL. 51 NO.1 Spring 2021 Edited by: Dr Antulio J Echevarria II. March 02, 2021

Prospectives 2021 - US Strategic Landpower: Carol V. Evans and Nora Bensahel; US Civil-Military Relations: Rosa Brooks and Risa Brooks; US National Security: Anne-Marie Slaughter and Nadia Schadlow; Retrospectives 1971 - Strategic Organization: John S. Kem and James G. Breckenridge and Jonathan P. Klug; (Un)civil-Military Relations: C. Anthony Pfaff and Julia L. E. Pfaff; Regional Challenges: Robert E. Hamilton and W. Andrew Terrill; Learning from the Past: J. P. Clark and Michael Neiberg.