No signs of ISIS decline despite Western efforts, say US spy agencies

ISIS forces in RamadiInternal reports by American intelligence agencies say that the Islamic State remains strong in Iraq and Syria, and that the group has been able to effortlessly replace its 10,000 fighters who have been killed in the past year. Despite the over $1 billion spent in the war against it by the Syrian and Iraqi governments, as well as by the West, the militant group is “fundamentally no weaker” than it was a year ago, when the United States began a bombing campaign targeting Islamic State strongholds, according to the reports. The Associated Press, which published a summary of the assessment, said that it represents the views of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and other members of the US Intelligence Community. Citing anonymous US officials, the news agency said that the overall assessment of the situation could be described as a “strategic stalemate”.

If the leaked assessment is accurate, it would directly contradict the views expressed recently by retired US Marine Corps General John Allen, who is serving as Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS. Speaking last week at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, General Allen argued that the Islamic State (known also as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS) was “losing”. He added that “we have seen some significant progress” in the war against the group and said he believed that its “momentum has been checked strategically, operationally and, by and large, tactically”.

 But according to the Associated Press, US defense officials have seen “no meaningful degradation” in the numbers of ISIS fighters. They put the group’s current strength at between 20,000 and 30,000 uniformed troops, a number that is practically identical to that of August 2014, when the administration of US President Barack Obama initiated an air bombing campaign against ISIS targets. The intelligence assessments suggest that, not only is ISIS able to replenish its fighter ranks with new recruits from around the world, but that the group’s finances have not been significantly affected by the US air campaign. American fighter jets have repeatedly attacked ISIS-controlled oil installations in recent months; but the group has been able to rebuild its oil-drilling and -refining capacities, and continues to earn over $40 million a month from the sale of oil.

The reports go on to state that, based on current trends, it could take more than a decade before ISIS became weak enough to justify expectations that it could retreat from its strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 03 August 2015 | Permalink

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2 Responses to No signs of ISIS decline despite Western efforts, say US spy agencies

  1. Alfie says:

    While this analysis of ISIS losses replacement seems more than a bit scarey,there was something of a countermanding story on a tv network on Tuesday, 4 August. That story (CBS I seem to recall) reported that ISIS is dragging in boys ranging in age from 8 – yes 8 years old – to the middle teens. One reason, the report said, is that such young boys are easy to brainwash and turn into bomb carriers. This strikes me as illustrating Slimeball Hitler’s use of Hitler Youth and other young males as the Russians swept into Germany at the end of World War II. It also typifies other less than gallant outlaw gangs such as some that have been active in Africa and Latin America. One of the sources on this tv report was a northern Syria mother, who was fearful to let herself be named, She is afraid that talking to a western jounrlaist might get her own mother, who remains in Syria, killed by the uncivilized brutes that make up ISIS.

  2. Pingback: Obama authorizes Special Forces, CIA, to conduct assassinations in Syria | BlogFactory

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