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Pentagon spokesman: Idea of ISIS ‘Caliphate’ destroyed

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2017 — While Iraqi security forces and Syrian Democratic Forces have destroyed the idea of an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ‘Caliphate,’ much work remains to be done against the terror group, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Robert Manning said today.

Over the weekend, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that Iraqi security forces — including Kurdish peshmerga forces — had defeated ISIS in his country.

Abadi is proud of his troops who fought pitched battles — from Beiji to Mosul to Fallujah to Ramadi to Hit to Qaim — to defeat the group, which once threatened Baghdad.

“Iraqi security forces, to include the peshmerga, fought against a determined enemy and sacrificed greatly since 2014,” Manning said. “We congratulate all those who fought and remember all those who died to liberate Iraq from vicious ISIS territorial control.”

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Iraqi forces were caught off guard when ISIS swooped in in 2014 and the terror group stopped just 30 miles from the Iraqi capital. The Iraqi government asked for aid, and coalition forces led by the United States stepped up. Soon, service members from around the world arrived to train Iraqi security forces, provide supplies and equipment and provide air support that stopped ISIS in its tracks.

Iraqi students pose for a photo through a school window at a primary school, Aski Mosul, Iraq, Nov. 13, 2017. The breadth and diversity of Coalition partners demonstrate the global and unified goal of defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve is the global coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (Army photo by Sgt. Tracy McKithern)

Counter-ISIS Offensive

As Iraqi forces gained more confidence, they began attacking ISIS and pushing the terror group back.

At the same time across the border in Syria, Kurds and Arabs — sick of ISIS’ brutality — formed the SDF. Coalition support enabled the group to take the fight to ISIS in areas that were once the terror group’s stronghold.

Now, Iraqi security forces and the SDF have taken back all the territory once held by ISIS. U.S. officials said there are fewer than 3,000 ISIS adherents in Iraq and Syria, with most of those in Syria.

The SDF and Iraqi forces — with coalition support — have liberated 7.7 million people from ISIS over the past three years.

But now is not the time to declare victory and go home, Manning said. “Much work remains to ensure ISIS’s lasting defeat and the government of Iraq can count on continuing coalition support as we work together to erase the stain of ISIS and to strengthen the institutions of Iraq’s national defense,” he said.

Watch this video of the “Falcon” troopers of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade in Iraq:


Paratroopers deployed in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve and assigned to
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, conducting their advise and assist mission to the Iraqi
security forces partners fighting for the military defeat of ISIS in Iraq. Col. Pat Work, commander of 2nd BCT,
82nd Abn. Div.
, provides an update to Paratroopers, families, and friends of the brigade. The 2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div.
enables their ISF partners through the advise and assist mission, contributing planning, intelligence collection and
analysis, force protection, and precision fires to achieve the military defeat of ISIS. CJTF-OIR is the global
Coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (Army video by Cpl. Rachel Diehm)

Collective Commitment

Manning confirmed that SDF and Iraqi leaders met near their shared border Dec. 10. They reaffirmed a collective commitment as they continued clearance and security in their respective areas of operation. The meeting was held near the border crossing at Qaim, Iraq and Abu Kamal, Syria.

The representatives agreed to coordinate security along the border, and will establish a joint coordination center to ensure border security.

The SDF will continue operations to clear the northern and eastern side of the Euphrates River valley. Iraqi forces will patrol throughout Iraq to ensure there is no resurgence of the terror group or rise of a similar ideology.

There are still small numbers of ISIS adherents in Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi forces and the SDF will continue to root them out, Manning said.

Securing the border is important for both Syria and Iraq. ISIS gained a foothold in Iraq, in part, from adherents of the group infiltrating over the very porous border from Syria.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)

 

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Big League National Security

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats Mocks President Trump at Globalist Festival

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The acting Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, took the opportunity to throw shade at President Donald Trump while speaking at the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday. The annual event at a ski resort in Colorado has served for several years as a venue for leading neoconservatives, uber-hawks, and  Washington D.C based defense contractors to coordinate their political activities, recently becoming an opportunity for the elite bureaucrat class to fume collectively in hatred against the America First vision of foreign policy articulated by President Trump. However, it comes as a surprise to many to see an acting high-level U.S national security official speak publicly against the foreign policy of peaceful and principled realism set forth by the President he is nominally bound to serve as Commander-in-Chief.

Speaking to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Director Coats justified an earlier statement of opposition he had released in response to the President’s press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, stating that he “needed to correct the record,” and that he “wished [Trump] had made a different statement.” Coats went on to express a sense of bewilderment upon learning that Trump had invited President Putin to the White House for further bilateral negotiations, initially asking Mitchell to repeat herself before responding with “okay… That’s going to be special,” speaking in reference to the planned White House visit.

Coats even floated the possibility of resignation from his office in his discussion with the MSNBC talk show host, answering a question about whether of not he had even considered resigning from his position as a form of protest against the sitting President’s national security policies by saying it was “a place I don’t really go to, publicly.” It’s uncertain if the President deserves intelligence personnel who are able to fully devote their efforts to apolitical public service without the possibility of resigning to advance an alternate political agenda, from the perspective of the acting U.S intelligence chief.

Other deep-state linked political figures, such as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and the former pundit-extraordinaire and now full-time Twitter crybaby Bill Kristol, were in attendance at the four-day exclusive conference, with tickets for attendance ranging from $1,500 to $2,000.

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