MESOP ANALYSIS : RAQQA & AFTER RAQQA – RESSOURCE PERSON AARON STEIN / FRITZ LODGE / BRIAN MICHAEL JENKINS (CLICK BOTTOM LINK FOR ALLE SOURCES)

SYRIA NEWS RAAQA – Today’s Insight: Nobody has a strategy: The Turks, the Iranians, the U.S., the opposition, the government, even the Kurds. Nobody has a viable strategy that could outlast the next five years.”

Objective: Raqqa | Fritz Lodge, The Cipher Brief
Despite its fearsome codename, Operation Wrath of Euphrates, the campaign by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to capture Raqqa from ISIS has progressed in fits and starts since its announcement on November 6th of last year. However, that changed this month, with the operation appearing to have accelerated and SDF forces pushing to within just 50 kilometers of the ISIS capital.

Expert Commentary

No Clear Road to Raqqa | Brian Michael Jenkins, Senior Advisor, RAND Corporation
“We could put American boots on the ground and do this ourselves, but there would be heavy casualties, and introducing American combat forces would change the dynamics of the contest. Beyond that, very few people accept the idea that the fall of Raqqa will end the fight.”

A Very Long and Nasty Fight | Aaron Stein, Resident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council
“The situation is so inherently complex because the U.S. is conducting an unconventional warfare campaign against an illegitimate government, which is parasitic to the accepted government in Damascus that has killed hundreds of thousands of its own people. The whole situation is insane. Nobody has a strategy: The Turks, the Iranians, the U.S., the opposition, the government, even the Kurds. Nobody has a viable strategy that could outlast the next five years.”