The coalition against Islamic State have made significant progress in Iraq and Syria, but investments are needed to ensure the gains endure, the commander of US Central Command said today.

U.S, coalition and local partners have made immense contributions to security in the Centcom region, the “most complex area on the globe,” Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a fiscal year 2019 budget hearing.

“In the past year, we have achieved incredible success against [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] in both Iraq and Syria,” the general told US lawmakers.

Votel commended the Iraqi security forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces for their steadfast efforts, noting they are “operating at their most effective levels.”

They have liberated over 98 percent of the territory previously held by IS, he said.

“The destruction of the physical caliphate is within our grasp,” Votel said.

“Investments in the security forces, relationships and capabilities are needed to hold territory and ensure the terrorists do not return. As we consolidate our gains in places like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, we remain cleareyed about the challenges that the region continues to present,” Votel added.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Ordinarily I would say now that the mistakes of the past shouldn’t be repeated and that we need to support the countries affected whilst they rebuild so they don’t fall into anarchy. But that won’t apply so much as Syria would never accept western help for obvious reasons and Iraq has undergone something of a good and bad transformation. The crisis has fueled a new sense of pride in a democratic Iraq and antithesis to Islamic extremism, but it has also created new problems which are primarily the powerful militias cebtered around clerics and the Kurdish militia which will vie for independence. Both of those issues are something that only the Iraqs can solve.

  2. Lovely picture of a Tornado GR4.

    The political map of the Syrian, Iraqi and Turkish borders may be a bigger issue once ISIS have been dealt with. The Turks are using the Syrian civil war as a cover to try to eradicate the Kurdisk PKK and to stifle the Kurds ambitions of an independent state.

    The incursion of ISIS through Iraq has been a serious kick up the backside for their politicians. It has though resolved them to at least sort out their differences and focus on kicking out ISIS. They are basically tolerating the Kurds, but things may change once ISIS have been defeated in the region.

    There is absolutely no way that Assad will give up power, as he has the full backing from Russia. The civil war will drag on until he has recaptured all the lost territories. He will also not tolerate any “freedom fighter factions”, why should he, Russia will give all the support he needs.

    I am not sure what will happen when ISIS have finally been dealt with in Iraq and the eastern side of the Euphates in Syria. At the moment there is a limited understanding that the Pro Assad forces won’t go east of the river. Will they realistically stop there?

    • 50/50 East of the river becomes a frozen conflict zone. With the East eventually agreeing to autonomy without independence. Now 20yrs from now when it is another generations war watch him cross the river without raising an eyebrow.

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