On their way out. The combination of U.S. strategy, air power and Kurdish soldiers has brought ISIS to its knees, reports David Ignatius in Real Clear Politics. On the verge of driving the caliphate out of Raqqah, its strategic capital, all the odds are stacked against it now. American bombing and Kurdish and Arab allies have devastated ISIS forces. Tabqa, another crucial city which was liberated in May, is already seeing food being distributed and efforts to rebuild its infrastructure. America’s strategy in Syria has undone the ISIS threat and opened the door to the the bigger issue in rebuilding the country.
Winning the battle but not the war. Premature victory declarations have been a staple since America’s foray into Iraq in 2003, infers Patrick Cockburn of the Independent. Hubris has allowed ISIS to resurge time and time again, which remains a risk. Their leaders are seasoned military tacticians who use guerrilla tactics, allowing small teams of snipers to hold back Iraqi forces for days at a time. ISIS may soon be driven out of Mosul, but its hold on rural areas, where it can lay low and regroup if times get tough, remains strong. America taking back cities is positive, but truly eradicating the caliphate will be a lot harder.