U.S. Role and Strategy in the Middle East: Syria, Iraq, and the Fight Against ISIS, Hearing Before the Full Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, One Hundred Fourteenth Congress, First Session, September 16, 2015   [open pdf - 621KB]

This is a testimony compilation of the September 16, 2015 hearing "The U.S. Role and Strategy in the Middle East: Syria, Iraq, and the Fight Against ISIS," held before the Full Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. From the testimony of Dr. Kimberly Kagan: "The United States faces national security challenges in 2015 of a scope and scale that we have not encountered since the end of the Cold War. The Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has seized control of terrain in Iraq and Syria, declared itself a caliphate, and aims not only to reify that claim but also to provoke an apocalyptic war with the West. ISIS is challenging al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization from which it sprung, as the leader of the global jihadist movement. Russia, a nuclear power, is waging a crypto-war in Ukraine and is using its military capabilities to intimidate NATO. The United States and Iran have signed a nuclear deal that will relieve sanctions in ways that will likely increase Iran's malign behavior in the Middle East, which already includes the use of proxy military forces to undermine U.S. allies. China is laying claim to areas in the South China Sea and is using its increasing military might to enforce those claims. The threat to the United States in 2015 includes not only states and transnational organizations that have the intent and capability to harm America. The U.S. also faces a threat from the growing global disorder that its enemies and adversaries are exploiting. The Islamic State, for example, is pursuing a strategy that both breaks strong states and preys upon power vacuums in failed states. It has worked to provoke and expand a Sunni-Shia sectarian war since its origins as al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2004. That sectarian war is now engulfing the region and spreading around the world." Statements, letters, and other materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Kimberly Kagan, Brian Katulis, and Michael Bowers.

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