Wednesday, June 29, 2016

US official wants to defeat ISIS within 14 months

A US Air Force AV-8B Harrier II returns from striking ISIS in Iraq

The US-led fight against the Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq and Syria could be completed within 14 months, a senior US official told skeptical lawmakers Tuesday.

Some 65 countries are engaged at varying levels in trying to defeat the ISIS group in its so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria, under a campaign that began in August 2014 and was initially devised to take three years.

US lawmakers, especially Republicans, have frequently blasted President Barack Obama for what they call an overly cautious approach that moves too slowly and only takes incremental steps in ramping up the fight.  

"We're not going to defeat them within 14 months, are we?" Senator Ron Johnson asked Brett McGurk, who is Obama's special envoy for the coalition.  

McGurk, speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, pointed to progress in the 22-month-old operation and said he wanted it finished even before it hits the three-year mark.
"I want it to go a lot faster than that," he told senators.

"We are moving at a tempo that I believe will lead to the ultimate defeat" of ISIS, he added. READ MORE