In the summer of 2012—around the time that the Islamic State’s inchoate plans for a caliphate merited a mere footnote in a U.S. congressional report on the year-old Syrian conflict—Robert Satloff argued that a civil war was taking shape in Syria, and that its terrible consequences would extend far beyond Syrians; Americans, too, would soon be acquainted with the horror.
Among the plausible scenarios, he reasoned in the New Republic, were a revived Kurdish insurgency in Turkey and thousands of jihadists “descending on Syria to fight the apostate Alawite regime, transforming this large Eastern Mediterranean country into the global nexus of violent Islamist terrorists.”
“None of this is fantasy,” Satloff, the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, assured his readers.
Today, they need no convincing. In the three years since Satloff issued his warning, the Syrian Civil War has steadily metastasized as a perceived threat to U.S. national security, nurturing ISIS, bludgeoning Iraq, and radiating refugees in the Middle East and Europe. Consider, for example, the results of a new survey of American foreign-policy experts and practitioners by the Council on Foreign Relations’ Center for Preventive Action. Nearly 500 respondents estimated the likelihood and impact on U.S. interests of 30 potential conflicts in 2016. These conflicts were then sorted into three tiers of risk to America.
Read More: From ISIS in Syria to Nukes in North Korea: The Global Conflicts to Watch in 2016 – The Atlantic