On the surface, the international coalition has made notable progress in the fight against ISIS in Iraq, taking back almost half of the territory claimed by the terror group that seeks to build a new radical Islamic empire, or caliphate. But what’s missing in the up-to-date figure is that it doesn’t show how little progress has been made in 2016. Fox News reported that the Pentagon’s latest percentage of retaken territory—45% percent—marks just a 5% increase since December, when the number was 40%.
And over in Syria, the numbers are even less inspiring. Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in comments to the media posted to the Pentagon’s website that just 16% to 20% of the ISIS territory has been retaken in Syria, which Fox News noted was similar to the figure in January. Cook didn’t comment on the figures’ significance, but separately one American lawmaker isn’t feeling too good about the war on ISIS. The same day as Cook’s comments, the head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said, “Current efforts to eliminate ISIS safe havens and defeat its propaganda machine are still falling short.”
Royce’s comments, were published in a press release on the Committee’s website, highlighted the still-serious threat posed by the violent extremists. “ISIS is agile, opportunistic and far from contained. In fact, these terrorists have the capability to carry out more Paris and Brussels-style attacks here in the United States… Islamist terrorism is a borderless problem,” the US Representative was quoted as saying.
Speaking with European ambassadors to the US, Royce said, “We must partner with our allies, capitalize on each other’s strengths, and synchronize our efforts. The United States government cannot win this fight on its own.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, May 17, 2016)