The U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State: many questions, few answers

The U.S. commitment to "ultimately destroy" the Islamic State implies an extended military commitment in a highly complex Middle East environment. By looking at the strategic issues that emerge from this dynamic, we can hope better to understand impending developments.

These issues centre on the motive behind the U.S. decision to enter the conflict; the U.S. relationship with its European and regional partners and, by contrast, with other major actors in the region like Iran, Syria, Turkey and Egypt; the options for the Islamic State’s response; and issues of U.S. strategy and grand strategy regarding the Islamic world.