Iraq’s government has declared victory over ISIS, but it looks like a reprise of another embarrassing moment in the long history of post-Saddam Hussein fighting there. Remember “Mission accomplished”?
I discussed the actual situation a few minutes ago with host Bob Bartolomeo on KQV News Radio in Pittsburgh. The Iraqi government was referring to a victory over ISIS forces in the city of Mosul, the ISIS capital. Well, not only are there some ISIS fighters still there, other ISIS forces still control several other cities, and more important–ISIS is not just a military force. It’s an, idea, an ideology. So its fighters can and will take to the hills and attack government forces and civilians for years to come, and inspire attacks around the world if we let them.
Such a declaration of victory is premature at best and misleading at worst. Here’s the assessment of my friend, top Pentagon correspondent Nancy Youssef.
A measure of the fanaticism is the ISIS destruction of the 900-year-old, famously lopsided al-Nouri Great Mosque before it pulled its forces out of Mosul. I have never been able to get my head around how these Muslim extremists can destroy each other’s mosques. I don’t think the West has got its collective head around it, either, and it might be a good idea to look at these before and after pictures before we decide that it’s a good idea, in the national interest, to ramp up our on the ground involvement in this conflict.
As it is, it’s been shown pretty clearly that we’re in way over our heads there, and a cold assessment concludes that what happens militarily inside Iraq is not vital to American national security. Controlling terrorism, of course, is–and that can be done with intelligence. Both kinds–covert and the type between our ears.