The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. June 27, 2014.

The Obama administration is weighing its options. It wants the Shiite dominated government of Nouri al-Maliki to be more inclusive and thereby lay the groundwork for a long term political solution to Iraq’s problems. A few hundred US military advisors are being sent back to Iraq. And now, the White House wants Congress to approve $500 million in new funding for moderate rebels next door in Syria, who also happen to be fighting ISIS militants. The following is a lightly edited version of an interview with Iraq expert Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. [Note: contains copyrighted material]. [HTML format].

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Congressional Research Service. June 13, 2014.

The Administration and Congress continue to cultivate Iraq as an ally in part to preserve the
legacy of the U.S intervention and in part to prevent Iraq from falling under the sway of Iran.
Asserting that the Sunni-led rebellion in Syria is emboldening ISIL and Iraqi Sunni
oppositionists, Maliki has not joined U.S. and other Arab state calls for Syrian President Bashar
Al Assad to leave office and Iraq has not consistently sought to prevent Iranian overflights of
arms deliveries to Syria. Still, the legacy of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, Arab and Persian
differences, and Iraq’s efforts to reestablish its place in the Arab world limit Iranian influence
over the Baghdad government. [PDF format, 49 pages].

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The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. June 19, 2014.

“I just met with my national security team to discuss the situation in Iraq.  We’ve been meeting regularly to review the situation since ISIL, a terrorist organization that operates in Iraq and Syria, made advances inside of Iraq.  As I said last week, ISIL poses a threat to the Iraqi people, to the region, and to U.S. interests.  So today I wanted to provide you an update on how we’re responding to the situation.” [HTML format].

Center for Strategic and International Studies. June 10, 2014.

The U.S. needs to learn hard lessons from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan even if it does intend to fight such wars in the future. The Burke Chair is issuing a summary analysis of these lessons that focuses on what the U.S. needs to learn as it shifts towards a strategy centered on strategic partnerships, and where irregular and unconventional war will be a critical element in U.S. security efforts. [Note: contains copyrighted material]. [PDF format, 23 pages].

The RAND Corporation. February 10, 2014.

RAND conducted a lessons learned examination of operations analysis, modeling, and simulation in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. This report identifies ways in which analysts have attempted to support commanders’ decisions in counterinsurgency and irregular warfare, describes many of the models and tools they employed, provides insight into the challenges they faced, and suggests ways in which the application of modeling, simulation, and analysis might be improved for current and future operations. RAND identified four broad categories of decisions: force protection, logistics, campaign assessment, and force structuring. Modeling, simulation, and analysis were most effective in supporting force protection and logistics decisions, and least effective in supporting campaign assessment and force structuring. [Note: contains copyrighted material]. [PDF format, 193 pages].