During a rally in Texas on Monday, Eric Trump claimed that “ISIS is gone” to loud cheers and applause. “You know, it’s really amazing. That’s what you do when you take the handcuffs off the military and let these guys and girls do what they do best, which is kill bad guys. And they’re doing it.”
While the territory ISIS controls continues to shrink, claiming that “ISIS is gone” is incorrect.
Last week during a Pentagon press brief, Colonel Sean Ryan discussed how a recently executed joint operation with “Iraqi special forces and the Kurdish counterterrorism forces” was an example of “how we will ultimately defeat ISIS.” Col. Ryan continued by noting that “Operation Last Warning is a large-scale effort targeting the remaining pockets of ISIS in the Anbar Desert” and clarified that “ISIS, however, remains a deadly adversary.”
As The Weekly Standard reported last month: “ISIS has lost most of the territory it gained beginning in 2011, but that does not mean the international terror group is vanquished. Far from it.”
In August alone, ISIS carried out roughly 200 operations in Iraq and Syria. The numbers for September will be about the same. That’s considerably fewer than it carried out at the height of its power in 2013 and 2014, but hardly indicative of a group that’s been “wiped out.”
ISIS has tens of thousands of loyal fighters operating around the world—in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and beyond. ISIS claimed responsibility for a bombing in Afghanistan two months ago that killed 166 people. It conducts operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan on a near-daily basis. The group has fighters in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, too, and has mounted operations as far afield as Australia. ISIS has branches in Niger, Somalia, and Libya—as well as other parts of Africa. A December 2017 report from U.S. Central Command estimated that the ISIS presence in Yemen “had doubled in size over the past year,” using “the ungoverned spaces of Yemen to plot, direct, instigate, resource, and recruit for attacks against America and its allies around the world.”
ISIS is not gone.
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