Small Wars Journal

U.S. Backed Forces Oust IS But Victory May Not Last

U.S. Backed Forces Oust IS But Victory May Not Last by Robert Burns – Associated Press

In a campaign that spanned five years and two U.S. presidencies, unleashed more than 100,000 bombs and killed untold numbers of civilians, the U.S. military engineered the destruction of the Islamic State group’s self-proclaimed empire in Iraq and Syria.


That’s a military success, but not necessarily one that will last.


The Islamic State group is down, but it is not done.


President Donald Trump on Wednesday flashed a color-coded map to illustrate what he called the imminent demise of IS in its last speck of Syrian territory. At its peak, in 2014-15, it controlled an area the size of Britain across Syria and Iraq and launched a series of extremist attacks around the world.


His suggestion of finality for the anti-IS struggle, however, seemed premature.


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking in Jerusalem, said Thursday the U.S.-led coalition has achieved “amazing” results in Syria.


“The threat from radical Islamic terrorism remains,” Pompeo said. “We need to finish out the last few square meters there in Syria. Still work to do.”


If history is a guide, the reconquering of IS-held territory may prove a short-lived victory unless Iraq and Syria fix the problem that gave rise to the extremist movement in the first place: governments that pit one ethnic or sectarian group against another…

Read on.