US military officials have announced that ISIS, the terror organization in the Middle East, is nearing its end. The Pentagon statement noted that the terror group has lost nearly 98 percent of the territory it once held and much of this success has been realized during the Trump administration. ISIS had massively taken control of huge territories in the Middle East cutting through various countries.
The military blames these massive gains on the “cautious” operations under president Obama. The former US president has been accused of micromanaging operations against ISIS and appearing reluctant in sanctioning a more intense air campaign against the terror organization. The officials say that this protracted the conflict leading to many unnecessary losses.
Nonetheless, these claims have been rebuffed by a former senior intelligence official in the Obama administration. The official said that the former president did whatever he could to prevent ISIS from progressing while destroying key command and control centers through a coalition air campaign.
The conflict seems to have turned on its head. Intelligence reports from US agencies indicate that ISIS has only about 1,000 fighters left. This is a massive reduction compared to the 45,000 fighters that have marched under the “caliphate” flag over the last two years. The US in conjunction with its partners has conducted nearly 30,000 strikes targeting ISIS and killing nearly 70,000 jihadists in the process. There have been a few fighters who have returned home too.
The US army believes that it’s just a matter of time now before the organization is defeated. ISIS still controls small territories along the Syrian-Iraqi border. Intelligence agencies estimate that the total size of ISIS-controlled territory is roughly the size of Ohio.
Despite these massive gains, there is still need to exercise caution and ensure that the job is done once and for all. The Islamic extremist group continues to call on followers around the world to conduct deadly attacks, especially during this festive season. It seems that some supporters have decided to heed this call. In Afghanistan, a Christmas day attack on the capital Kabul targeting government installations killed 10 people and injured many others.
It is this ability to inspire attacks even from a state of deprivation that makes ISIS a very dangerous organization. The US envoy serving in the anti-ISIS coalition is on record saying that the world should not expect a complete defeat of the terror organization soon. This final battle will be the most difficult and the trickiest for coalition forces. In addition to this, the conflict in Syria is still not yet fully solved and this could provide a heaven for the organization to reinvent itself.
ISIS has been involved in a number of high profile terror attacks in various parts of the world. The organization has inspired lone wolf attacks too in countries like Germany, England, Belgium, France, and the US. It would be in the best interest of western countries to ensure that concerted efforts are in place to completely destroy this enemy.