There is a French way of warfare that reflects the French military's lack of resources and its modest sense of what it can achieve. They specialize in carefully apportioned and usually small but lethal operations, often behind the scenes.
Some are advocating a no-fly zone in Syria to protect civilians from both ISIS and forces loyal to Assad. What constraints complicate establishing a no-fly zone and realizing its expected benefits? And how might Assad supporters, such as Russia, respond?
The NATO air campaign that helped defeat Qaddafi's regime in Libya has received relatively little mention in public discussion of the ongoing air strikes against ISIS. But the campaign in Libya offers at least five lessons that deserve greater attention today.
More than any other option, employing air power decisively to deny ISIL the ability to use its armor and artillery has the potential to immediately and dramatically shift the battlefield balance against it.
More than 60 countries have joined the coalition against ISIS, with at least 12 participating in the air campaign. Eventually, this will be an impressive armada, but the campaign is still in its first stage, and most of the coalition participants joined the effort only recently.
The United States and five of its partner nations are conducting strikes against ISIS terrorists in Syria using fighters, bombers, remotely piloted aircraft, and Tomahawk Land Attack missiles. RAND experts discuss the bombings and possible ramifications.
For all the attempts to find technological quick fixes or enforce a permanent settlement, Operation Protective Edge has highlighted that a war of attrition, known as a 'long war,' remains the only viable strategy in the current environment.
While the United States could embark on a much wider war in Iraq, there's little reason to think it will rush to do so or that using airpower to help defend the Kurds will make such an escalation inevitable.
Unfortunately, no strategic option for a unified, democratic Iraq has a good chance of success. But any well-considered option that doesn't involve ineffective killing or risking U.S. lives is preferable to simply allowing Iraq to disintegrate and feed broader regional instability.
With the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) making significant gains over the past week, including advancing closer to Baghdad, U.S. President Barack Obama is reportedly considering whether to deploy U.S. air power to assist Iraq's armed forces. But what would such an intervention mean in practical terms? And how effective an option would it be?
If you want to understand the Obama administration's objectives in Syria, don't just listen to what officials say — watch what they bomb, writes Seth G. Jones. There are at least four sets of potential political objectives. Each is linked to a different set of targets.
The lesson here is not that countries should act for the sake of maintaining credibility but that they should act when they believe it serves their interests and might make a difference, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.
The longer this war drags on, the more radicalised become the insurgents, the more brutalised the population, the more inflamed the sectarian passions, and the more destabilised neighbouring societies, writes James Dobbins.