On September 10, 2014, the United States announced the formation of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. Since then, ISIS has lost nearly all the territory it once claimed authority over, simultaneously losing most of its sources of revenue. Even as the caliphate’s power has significantly waned, the fight continues in an effort rout out the remnants of the group. Today Coalition partners are dealing with the challenges of returning foreign fighters, securing and rebuilding territory formerly held by ISIS, and addressing the humanitarian challenges in communities who experienced ISIS’s brutality.
On September 10, the Brookings Institution and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted an event commemorating the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Coalition, discussing the early days of the diplomatic and military efforts to bring together a diverse coalition of partner nations, how their efforts were organized, and recommendations on where the Coalition can go from here. General John Allen, president of Brookings, was joined by Brett McGurk, nonresident senior fellow at Carnegie, in a conversation moderated by Susan Glasser. Lise Grande, resident coordinator for the United Nations in Yemen and formerly the deputy special representative of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, joined via video conference.
Following the discussion, the participants answered questions from the audience. Join the conversation on Twitter using #CounterISIS.
President, The Brookings Institution
United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator - Yemen
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Right now, the regime has the upper hand, controlling most of the country. Assad thinks he's won. So, to him, there's really no need to negotiate... The U.S. and its international allies were in it to kill ISIS, not to bring down Assad. The U.S. could have intervened more forcefully from the beginning. However, the Obama administration was concerned about 'winning' and then owning a shattered country: Iraq 2.0... Various opposition factions, some of which enjoy Turkey's support, remain active in north and northeastern Syria. Part of the area is controlled by Kurdish-dominated forces, which work with the United States, fear Turkey, and have an uneasy modus vivendi with the Syrian regime. [For the Gulf states,] it was mostly about containing Iran, though many resented Assad for other reasons and saw most of the opposition as deserving of support. [The war] quickly became a sectarian conflict, and this colored the lens for Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states... The [humanitarian] situation is beyond horrible... As long as the various players can get resources, the fighting will be hard to stop.