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In this Perspective, RAND researchers help identify threats to U.S. interests posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), propose a context in which ISIL should be judged (particularly ISIL's character and motivations, as well as key regional and global issues that frame the context), provide an initial framework for interpreting these data and insights, and outline a way ahead for developing and assessing courses of action and generating concrete options. This paper does not attempt to develop discrete courses of action or critique current ones; rather, it seeks to outline general principles that U.S. policymakers must consider when conceiving and weighing appropriate strategies to combat ISIL.

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This research was conducted within the Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program within the RAND Arroyo Center.

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