Questioned Thursday about the progress of the Pentagon’s efforts to crush the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, Defense Secretary James Mattis issued a terse, four-word reply that left no room for doubt.
“We’re winning, they’re losing,” he told reporters as he exited a classified briefing on Capitol Hill also attended by Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state; Brett McGurk, the top U.S. envoy to the global anti-ISIS coalition; and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Dunford, according to WJLA, concurred with the defense secretary’s pithy assessment.
“If you look at where we were 24 months ago, you can look at the territory that they held, you can look at the resources that they had available, you could look at the potential for them to conduct external operations, and in all those areas we’ve made great progress,” he told Sinclair Broadcast Group.
SecSef Mattis leaving House briefing on ISIS.
Me: Progress against ISIS?
Mattis: “We’re winning. They’re losing.” pic.twitter.com/MhsRKe3UqE
— Leandra Bernstein (@LeandraB_sbg) July 20, 2017
Both Dunford and Mattis were correct.
In a report published late last month, IHS Markit revealed that the terror network “has lost more than 60 percent of its territory” over the past two-and-a-half years, with a large chunk of those losses having occurred within the past six months.
In fact, the terror group’s territory has been nearly cut in half since President Donald Trump took office in January:
Similar trends have been observed with the Islamic State group’s revenue, which has dropped from an average of $81 million per month in late 2015 to just $16 million per month as of June.
Take a look:
— IHS news (@IHS_news) June 29, 2017
To be clear, former President Barack Obama deserves some of the credit for these stunning losses, since they clearly began during his term in office.
But it’s equally true that President Trump’s election has served as a much-needed catalyst for the Pentagon’s efforts against the Islamic State group.
By assigning Mattis authority to determine troop levels in the Middle East, increasing defense spending and dropping the “Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan, Trump has displayed a willingness to use any means necessary to get the job done; and lo and behold, this willingness has led to great success, including the recapture of Mosul earlier this month.
It’s been victory after victory after victory since January, and it’s a good bet that no one in the American military is tired of winning yet — nor is the secretary of defense.
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