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Syria conflict enters fifth year

The conflict in Syria is now in its fifth year. The IISS provides expert, regularly updated analysis on the crisis via blogs, commentary and journals, and in-depth examinations can be found in our Adelphi series and publications including The Military Balance and Strategic Survey. 

Monitoring the conflict in Syria

Armed Conflict Database

A regularly updated IISS online resource providing day-by-day timelines and detailed monthly reports on the conflict in Syria.

  • Expert Commentary

    The Islamic State and Israel's Arab Citizens

    06 December 2016.  In this article for War on the Rocks, Elisabeth Marteu discusses the reasons why the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has failed to gain a foothold amongst Israeli Arabs.

  • Manama Voices

    Turbulence of 2016 lends greater urgency to IISS Manama Dialogue

    01 December 2016.  This year’s IISS Manama Dialogue takes place amid a set of political, economic, social and security challenges in and around the Middle East and North Africa of a global importance and urgency that we have not seen for decades. As Sir John Jenkins explains, the Dialogue provides a vital forum for some of the most powerful policymakers from the region and beyond to agree on ways to address such pressing...

  • Strategic Comments

    The Islamic State and Southeast Asia

    23 November 2016. 

    Up to a thousand Southeast Asians have travelled to the Middle East to fight for the Islamic State. While some may return to Southeast Asia and engage in terrorist operations, the greater threat is that the Islamic State's rise in international prominence will foment homegrown extremism and terrorist activity.

  • Events

    The Islamic State: Between Aspirations and Reality

    17 November 2016. 

    IISS Manama Dialogue Discourse Series
    Nelly Lahoud, Senior Fellow for Political Islamism, IISS–Middle East
    IISS–Americas, Washington DC
    Thursday 17 November 2016, 10–11AM EST

  • Events

    Russia, the Middle East and the Geopolitical Implications of Trump

    17 November 2016. 

    Discussion Meeting
    Major General (Retd) Amos Yadlin, Executive Director, Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv University; Member of the Council, IISS 
    Dr Igor Yurgens, Chairman of the Management Board, Institute of Contemporary Development, Russia; Member of the IISS Council
    Bloomsbury House, London
    Thursday 17 November 2016, 2.30–3.30PM GMT

  • Expert Commentary

    The end of the Islamic State will make the Middle East worse

    28 October 2016.  In this article for the Washington Post, Emile Hokayem looks at what will happen in the Middle East as the Islamic State loses power, arguing that the group's weakening will bring more potent problems to the surface.

  • Expert Commentary

    A non-territorial Islamic State

    26 October 2016.  In this essay for Horizons, the in-house journal of the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD), Nelly Lahoud examines the state-building track record of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, as well as that of its parent group, the Islamic State of Iraq.

  • Expert Commentary

    Russia’s use of military force as a foreign policy tool: is there a logic?

    20 October 2016.  Russia has used its military beyond its borders with unprecedented frequency in the period since the invasion of Crimea in February 2014. In this PONARS Policy Memo Samuel Charap explains this behaviour, arguing that we should see Moscow's use of force as one element of a broader coercive bargaining process.

  • Military Balance Blog

    The Kuznetsov questions for NATO

    19 October 2016.  The Russian Navy's sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, has been deployed and is thought to be headed to the eastern Mediterranean. Nick Childs argues that despite the carrier's somewhat limited capabilities, NATO has some long-term questions to answer about how to respond to Moscow's willingness to use its maritime assets more assertively.

  • Strategic Comments

    The United States’ Syria quandary

    12 October 2016. 

    Following the collapse of the latest ceasefire, the Obama administration faces increasing pressure from interventionists for more robust military action against the Assad regime. But the United States' military options are problematic. The administration's Syria policy will probably not change substantially before he leaves office in January, though Hillary Clinton – his likely successor – has indicated that she would lean farther forward, in particular by imposing no-fly zones.

Middle Eastern Security, the US Pivot and the Rise of ISIS

Published to mark the tenth anniversary of the IISS Manama Dialogue, this new Adelphi book that analyses the key challenges now faced by the Middle East.

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IISS Research Programme

Middle East and the Gulf

IISS has long been involved in the Middle East, attracting leading global policy-makers to its summits on regional security. IISS-Middle East works closely with other offices on research into Iran's nuclear programme, unrest following the Arab Spring and other topics.