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Syria & Iraq Conflict Futures

Challenge assumptions. Expand scenarios. Anticipate threats.

This report helps defense, security, diplomatic and intelligence decision makers more effectively cope with the growing uncertainty and complexity affecting and emanating from Iraq and Syria and the broader region by presenting a range of distinct alternative futures relating to people, governments and non-state armed groups in the area.

IHS Markit analysts assess the likelihood, conditions required for and parameters of each future scenario, assess implications for regional security and geopolitics – including opportunities and threats facing local, regional and wider actors – and identify key take-aways about the future of regional security.

  • Challenge existing or inherited assumptions
  • Expand the range of alternative outcomes and scenarios
  • Anticipate disruptive events, emerging challenges, threats and opportunities
  • Identify critical capabilities, competitions, relationships and technologies
  • Better understand Syria, Iraq and non-state armed groups such as ISIS

Future scenarios

Why IHS Markit futures

IHS Markit future scenarios are high-level summaries of pathways, including elucidation of drivers, assumptions and triggers, "timelines" of significant events and summaries of end states and proximate challenges.

IHS Markit futures:
  • Allow analysts to get beyond existing analytical filters
  • Describe possible futures of varying probabilities
  • Reflect a range of types of futures
  • Describe distinct, separate end states and pathways

IHS Markit possesses deep, proven alternative futures analysis expertise – including training defense, intelligence and technology communities throughout the world on alternative analysis – and applies robust methodologies to ensure credible, reliable analysis that drives novel and potentially counterintuitive insight.

IHS Markit analysts:
  • Solicit multiple perspectives
  • Incorporate internal collaborative mechanisms
  • Leverage experienced scenario planners, strategists, geopolitical, defense and security experts
Example scenarios
Representative future scenarios include:
  • "Islamic State in the changing landscape of Islamic Extremism"
  • "The impact of ISIS and the Caliphate on political Islam"
  • "An Islamic State endures – then what?"
  • "Islamic State 2.0 – a long-term, post-defeat Islamic threat"
  • "Syria & Iraq – changing governance and political geography"
  • "Competition and contagion – new geopolitical fault lines in the Middle East"
  • "Implications and new challenges"

IHS Markit will leverage methodological rigor, internal and networked expertise and research, data and graphics to create a series of scenarios examining the future of the linked conflicts in Iraq and Syria out to approximately five years, as well as analysis of what these scenarios mean and imply for national security, defense and intelligence planners in the region and beyond.

The report:
  • Assesses drivers of future scenarios
  • Explores alternative pathways of what these futures could look like
  • Establishes a list of key issues to be addressed by policy-makers and intelligence officers
  • Considers novel problems and issues that could emerge in and across these scenarios
  • Analyzes critical uncertainties that would drive futures along dramatically different trajectories
  • Identifies signposts / indicators as to whether a scenario is more or less likely to occur

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