Small Wars Journal

President Trump Said the Islamic State’s Caliphate is Over. That was News to Troops on the Ground.

Trump Wrongly Says Islamic State Holds No Land In Syria by Robert Burns – AP

President Donald Trump asserted on Thursday that the Islamic State group has lost 100 percent of the territory it once controlled in Syria, but U.S. officials in Washington and accounts from people in Syria said a sliver of land remains contested.

 

Trump made his statement to troops in Alaska during a refueling stop on his way home from meeting in Vietnam with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

 

He noted that ISIS has been on the verge of losing its entire so-called caliphate in Syria for many months.

 

"Now it's 100 percent we just took over, 100 percent," he said, adding, "The area, the land, we just have 100 percent. We did that in a much shorter period of time than it was supposed to be."

 

When asked about Trump's comments, the Pentagon referred reporters to the White House…

Read on.

 

President Trump Said the Islamic State’s Caliphate is Over. That Was News to Troops on the Ground. By Louisa Loveluck – Washington Post

President Trump’s surprise announcement Thursday that “we just took over” the last Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria came as news to U.S.-backed forces leading the fight on the ground, spokesmen said.

 

Fighters and civilians have streamed out of the Syrian hamlet of Baghouz in recent weeks, surrendering to U.S.-backed troops as the battle to rid the Islamic State group of its territory grinds to an end.

“You kept hearing it was 90 percent, 92 percent, the caliphate in Syria. Now it’s 100 percent we just took over,” Trump told U.S. troops during a refueling stop in Alaska on Thursday. “That means the area, the land, we have 100 percent, so that’s good.”

 

More than 5,000 miles away in Syria, however, members of the U.S.-backed ground forces said they were surprised. The “final decision” is yet to be made, said Adnan Afrin, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

 

“It’s not true, it’s not true, it’s not true,” said Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the most prominent group monitoring Syria’s seven-year war.

 

And a spokesman for the YPG, a Kurdish militia that forms the majority of the U.S.-backed force, predicted that the fight would not end for at least a week…

Read on.

 

It's Official, Trump Tells Troops: ISIS Caliphate 100 Percent Defeated in Syria by Hope Hodge Seck - Military.com

The president of the United States reserved an announcement he had been teasing for weeks for a small group of U.S. troops on a stopover at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. During a 20-minute speech Thursday, he declared the self-described Islamic State caliphate in Syria had been completely defeated.

 

"You were hearing 90, 92 percent, caliphate in Syria," President Donald Trump told the group as his aircraft refueled in Anchorage en route to Washington, D.C., from a visit to Hanoi, Vietnam. "Now it's 100 percent; we just took over 100 percent caliphate. That means the area of land. ... We did that in a much shorter period of time than it was supposed to be."

 

Trump told a meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS on Feb. 6 that he expected a formal announcement that the caliphate was 100 percent defeated as soon as the following week. This is his first public announcement that the goal has been met…

Read on.

Comments

Bill C.

Fri, 03/01/2019 - 10:23am

With regard to whether ISIS and the pursuit of the Caliphate are over/defeated, I think we have to ask ourselves why the enemy would think that this was true; this, given that the U.S. recently, and via the Trump 2017 NSS, has now: 

a.  Formally stated that it has abandoned the political objective that it has pursued, both in peace and in war for numerous decades, of transforming the outlying states and societies of the world more along modern western lines.  And embraced, in the place of same, such opposite/diametrically opposed ideas as political, economic, social and value "equality," "diversity" and "sovereignty" instead.  And has now:

b. Formally taken its primary focus -- away from the Greater Middle East and North Africa and, in general, the so-called weak, failed and/or failing states -- and placed this such primary focus, instead, on such great nations as Russia, China and Iran.

In this exceptionally favorable environment for pursuing one's own "transformative" agenda (for example, that of the Islamists) -- an environment, shall we agree, that has not been this favorable/this good for as far back as anyone can remember -- why would our Islamist enemies (etc., etc., etc.) -- especially now -- think that this was a time in which they should:

a.  Quit and move back; this, instead of:

b.  Redoubling their efforts and moving forward?

For the Islamists -- and, indeed for all our enemies -- one would expect that they are likely to perceive that:

a.  The losses that they have incurred until now; this has largely been as per various "battles;" whereas,

b.  As per the "war" that they have been engaged in forever -- the "war" to prevent the U.S./the West from transforming their states and societies more along modern western political, economic, social and value lines -- this such "war" they have now won.    

(This, as our "surrender document" -- the Trump 2017 NSS -- formally and carefully acknowledges?  In this regard, see my initial subparagraph "a" above.)