Defeating the Islamic State

April 1, 2016 • Volume 26, Issue 13
Should the U.S. deploy ground troops to fight ISIS?
By Reed Karaim


Syrian government forces take down an Islamic State flag (AFP/Getty Images/George Ourfalian)
Syrian government forces take down an Islamic State flag on Feb. 21, 2016, after winning control of eastern Aleppo from the terrorist group. Some observers note ISIS has not recorded a major military victory in months, but others say the United States and its allies are still far from defeating the terrorists. (AFP/Getty Images/George Ourfalian)

Since emerging out of the conflicts in the Middle East, the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) has become the leading instigator of global terrorism, including deadly bombings in Brussels and Paris. ISIS proclaims devotion to a radical version of Islam, and it has imposed a brutal dictatorship in areas it controls in Syria and Iraq. It also has initiated or inspired terrorist attacks in places as far-flung as Indonesia and California. The United States and a coalition of nations have committed themselves to defeating ISIS. However, the Islamic State has proven more resilient than many predicted, leading to a contentious debate over strategy. Some political leaders are calling for an increased U.S. military effort, including use of ground troops. Others believe the approach would increase ISIS' popularity and lead to further attacks in the West. Governments also are struggling to counter ISIS' propaganda and recruiting efforts, both of which rely on a sophisticated use of the Internet.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
May 14, 2021  Domestic Terrorism
Apr. 09, 2021  Targeted Killings
Apr. 01, 2016  Defeating the Islamic State
Jan. 29, 2016  Unrest in Turkey
Jun. 27, 2014  Assessing the Threat From al Qaeda
Sep. 02, 2011  Remembering 9/11
Sep. 03, 2010  Homegrown Jihadists
Mar. 12, 2010  Prosecuting Terrorists Updated
Nov. 2009  Terrorism and the Internet
Feb. 13, 2009  Homeland Security
Apr. 21, 2006  Port Security
Oct. 14, 2005  Global Jihad
Apr. 02, 2004  Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorism
Feb. 22, 2002  Policing the Borders
Oct. 12, 2001  War on Terrorism
Jul. 21, 1995  Combating Terrorism
Aug. 26, 1988  New Approach to Mideast Terrorism
May 30, 1986  Dealing With Terrorism
Oct. 08, 1982  Prospects for Peace in Northern Ireland
Mar. 27, 1981  Anti-Terrorism: New Priority in Foreign Policy
Dec. 02, 1977  International Terrorism
Jan. 26, 1973  Control of Skyjacking
May 13, 1970  Political Terrorism
Jul. 24, 1952  Red Terrorism in Malaya
General Defense and National Security
Global Issues
Hate Groups
Humanitarian Assistance
Iraq War
Middle East Conflicts
Regional Political Affairs: Middle East and South Asia
Terrorism and Counterterrorism
U.S. at War: Afghanistan
U.S. at War: Iraq
War and Conflict