Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 12/2014

ISIS War Game: The Coming Stalemate

Bilal Y. Saab, Michael S. Tyson

October 2014

Atlantic Council


On September 22, the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security conducted a war game to examine the type of strategic interaction that might ensue between the US-led coalition and Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) fighters over the next six months. The latest issue brief from the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, "ISIS War Game: The Coming Stalemate" summarizes the results of this simulation, examines possible outcomes in the conflict, and explains key takeaways for the Obama administration as it carries out its offensive against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. War game participants included senior Iraq and Syria analysts–some from the region, others from the US think tank community – as well as US military personnel from the navy, air force, marine corps, and army who served in recent years in Iraq and Afghanistan and are currently on tour with the Atlantic Council, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Center for a New American Security, and Center for Strategic and International Studies. Led by the Scowcroft Center’s Senior Fellow for Middle East Security Bilal Y. Saab, the Red Team represented ISIS, while the US-led coalition (emphasizing the resopnse of the US government and military) was played by the Blue Team, spearheaded by Michael S. Tyson, the Atlantic Council’s Marine Corps Senior Fellow.