Caerus provides a FAQ on the dramatic events unfolding in Iraq and Syria, with a focus on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). While Syria watchers have been focused on ISIL for some time, most did not anticipate such rapid or successful actions from the group in Iraq. As such, Caerus has received a flood of questions about the group—its origins, its ties to al-Qaeda, its current standing in both Iraq and Syria, and what the future holds.
At Caerus, we believe the best way to understand complex environments is to ask the people who live in them. From October 2013 to January 2014, our local researchers interviewed Aleppans about security, humanitarian conditions, and governance in Syria’s largest city. The result is a hyperlocal report of how both regime and opposition forces wield power in the city and how that affects the daily lives of citizens.
Caerus Associates partnered with the Center for Complex Operations at the National Defense University to co-edit a PRISM journal supplemental dedicated to Syria. The March 2014 supplemental includes essays by regional scholars, former diplomats, and conflict experts, including “The Rise of Syria’s Urban Poor” by Dave Kilcullen and Nate Rosenblatt. Read the electronic version on our Ideas page.
At Caerus, we are exploring new ways of imagining the city—how it metabolizes and functions, and the ways stakeholders can work together to improve and sustain its health and vibrancy. We seek to make cities, and the communities within, more resilient. For examples, Caerus used its new open-source mapping and data collection tool, CaerusGEO (now First Mile Geo), to test how urban design can lessen crime and violence.