Raqqa Falls, ISIS Reels

 

Osama bin Laden famously said, “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they will naturally want to side with the strong horse.” These days, ISIS is looking more like a dead horse.

US-led forces have liberated Raqqa, the so-called capital of the terror group. Mop-up operations continue, but the city is swarmed with coalition fighters.

“Major military operations in Raqqa are finished but they are now clearing the city of sleeper cells — if they exist — and mines,” said a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed coalition of Arabs and Kurds. “The situation in Raqqa is under control and soon there will be an official statement declaring the liberation of the city.”

ISIS was founded in Iraq as Obama rapidly withdrew the necessary US military presence there. The Islamist group swept through ill-trained Iraqi forces and soon entered Syria, a nation reduced to anarchy by years of civil war. As they gobbled up land and flooded the media with grisly images, tens of thousands of jihadis flocked to their black banner.

But the group stumbled as the US targeted their finances and lucrative oil infrastructure. Then, with a new president in Washington, things really got dicey. This map shows ISIS’s precipitous decline over the past two and a half years:

ISIS has lost about two-thirds of its territory and is reduced to a trans-border strip of the Euphrates and the desert wastes surrounding it. Why have they fallen so far, so fast? Look at the change in airstrikes after January 20, 2017:

President Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis deserve tremendous credit, even though the media will be loath to give it. Where the previous administration was content with precision drone strikes and economic damage, the current Commander-in-Chief decided to snuff out the would-be caliphate. Well done.

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Published in Islamist Terrorism, Military
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There are 38 comments.

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  1. Thatcher

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: President Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis deserve tremendous credit, even though the media will be loath to give it. Where the previous administration was content with precision drone strikes and economic damage, the current Commander-in-Chief decided to snuff out the would-be caliphate. Well done.

    Jon,

    Slammin!! Three more cheers for President Trump. He gets the job done and he hires people who get the job done.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #1
    • October 18, 2017 at 8:06 am
    • 9 likes
  2. Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: These days, ISIS is looking more like a dead horse

    In this case, then, I am all for beating a dead horse.

    • #2
    • October 18, 2017 at 8:52 am
    • 8 likes
  3. Member

    Fighters of Syrian Democratic Forces are seen in Raqqa, Syria October 17, 2017

    Fighters of Syrian Democratic Forces are seen in Raqqa, Syria October 17, 2017 CREDIT: REUTERS

    A fighter from Syrian Democratic Forces takes a selfie as he stands near rubble at a damaged site in Raqqa

    A fighter from Syrian Democratic Forces takes a selfie as he stands near rubble at a damaged site in Raqqa CREDIT: REUTERS

    Can see a twitter feed.

    Damaged building are pictured during the fighting with Islamic State’s fighters in the old city of Raqqa

    • #3
    • October 18, 2017 at 10:08 am
    • 1 like
  4. Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:Why have they fallen so far, so fast? Look at the change in airstrikes after January 20, 2017:

    Nice find, Jon. That’s striking.

    • #4
    • October 18, 2017 at 10:44 am
    • 1 like
  5. Thatcher

    rebark (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: These days, ISIS is looking more like a dead horse

    In this case, then, I am all for beating a dead horse.

    rebark,

    Yes, agreed. ISIS is one of the least sympathetic enemies one can imagine. Judged by their own claims most of them have committed war crimes.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #5
    • October 18, 2017 at 11:07 am
    • 2 likes
  6. Member

    Does Syria still exist? Can we expect the Syria-Iraq border to change? Will Iraq exist as before if the Kurds get their way?

    ISIS might be withering under fire — and that’s a very good thing, a point of pride — but there is likely to be war in that area for years yet. And there will be others like ISIS. Evil is subdued, never eliminated.

    • #6
    • October 18, 2017 at 11:52 am
    • 2 likes
  7. Contributor

    Before everyone celebrates too much, let me add another graph here.

    It only goes through July, so it’s incomplete, but you get the idea.

    • #7
    • October 18, 2017 at 1:45 pm
    • Like
  8. Member

    I would just like to point at that this happy result was achieved without a massive ground presence. For all the hue and cry following Obama’s withdrawal (“we gave up all our hard earned gains”) in hindsight looks like a strategic masterstroke. We coaxed the enemy out into the open where they could be decimated by conventional means.

    • #8
    • October 18, 2017 at 3:06 pm
    • 1 like
  9. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    Before everyone celebrates too much, let me add another graph here.

    It only goes through July, so it’s incomplete, but you get the idea.

    An ugly and tragic consequence of every war. I’m not thrilled with our continued involvement in the region, but if we’re gonna war, we need to war. Just sending troops to stand around like mall cops is a terrible idea, and I fear that’s how Obama liked to use them.

    • #9
    • October 18, 2017 at 3:21 pm
    • 1 like
  10. Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    Before everyone celebrates too much, let me add another graph here.

    It only goes through July, so it’s incomplete, but you get the idea.

    An ugly and tragic consequence of every war. I’m not thrilled with our continued involvement in the region, but if we’re gonna war, we need to war. Just sending troops to stand around like mall cops is a terrible idea, and I fear that’s how Obama liked to use them.

    Actually, I think Bush II deserves most of the credit for that.

    • #10
    • October 18, 2017 at 3:47 pm
    • 1 like
  11. Contributor

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):
    An ugly and tragic consequence of every war. I’m not thrilled with our continued involvement in the region, but if we’re gonna war, we need to war.

    Well, there’s different ways to do that. The Obama administration tried to limit civilian casualties from American airstrikes and restricted their use. The Trump administration has removed many of those limits, resulting in the above predicable consequences.

    Limiting civilian casualties isn’t just a moral thing. Every kid that dies from an American bomb means more pissed off people who hate America. It’s in America’s interest to limit civilian casualties.

    • #11
    • October 18, 2017 at 5:13 pm
    • Like
  12. Thatcher

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):
    An ugly and tragic consequence of every war. I’m not thrilled with our continued involvement in the region, but if we’re gonna war, we need to war.

    Well, there’s different ways to do that. The Obama administration tried to limit civilian casualties from American airstrikes and restricted their use. The Trump administration has removed many of those limits, resulting in the above predicable consequences.

    Limiting civilian casualties isn’t just a moral thing. Every kid that dies from an American bomb means more pissed off people who hate America. It’s in America’s interest to limit civilian casualties.

    Fred,

    Gee Fred, I wonder how many civilians ISIS murdered and tortured and raped during those oh so careful Obama years. Got any stats on that?

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #12
    • October 18, 2017 at 5:36 pm
    • 1 like
  13. Member

    Fred Cole (View Comment):
    Every kid that dies from an American bomb means more pissed off people who hate America.

    So, are you suggesting that we should have stayed out of the war altogether?

    Or, maybe Obama had the “fight ISIS”/”protect kids” ratio optimized more to you liking?

    • #13
    • October 18, 2017 at 6:17 pm
    • Like
  14. Contributor

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    Gee Fred, I wonder how many civilians ISIS murdered and tortured and raped during those oh so careful Obama years. Got any stats on that?

    What I found in three seconds of googling was this:

    The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), found Isis killed 119 civilians in Syria in March, including 19 children and 7 women, with Russian forces believed to have killed 224 civilians in the same month, including 51 children and 42 women.

    The SNHR found the international coalition forces, led by the US, killed 260 civilians, including 70 children and 34 women.

    So, in March of this year, the US killed more civilians than either the Russians or ISIS.

    No, that doesn’t answer your question. But, to be blunt, whatever happens in someone else’s civil war is not my moral responsibility. Civil wars are very messy and bloody. All the more reason not to get involved. The longer they go on, the more people die. And the way to prolong civil wars is for outside forces (for example, the US) to back one side or the other.

    I am, however, morally responsible for people killed by my government, because whenever the US drops bombs on people, I’m the one paying for those bombs. When “US-led coalition forces” kill people with guns and tanks we supply them, or are better able to fight because we trained them, our country is responsible.

    • #14
    • October 18, 2017 at 6:21 pm
    • Like
  15. Thatcher

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    Gee Fred, I wonder how many civilians ISIS murdered and tortured and raped during those oh so careful Obama years. Got any stats on that?

    What I found in three seconds of googling was this:

    The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), found Isis killed 119 civilians in Syria in March, including 19 children and 7 women, with Russian forces believed to have killed 224 civilians in the same month, including 51 children and 42 women.

    The SNHR found the international coalition forces, led by the US, killed 260 civilians, including 70 children and 34 women.

    So, in March of this year, the US killed more civilians than either the Russians or ISIS.

    No, that doesn’t answer your question. But, to be blunt, whatever happens in someone else’s civil war is not my moral responsibility. Civil wars are very messy and bloody. All the more reason not to get involved. The longer they go on, the more people die. And the way to prolong civil wars is for outside forces (for example, the US) to back one side or the other.

    I am, however, morally responsible for people killed by my government, because whenever the US drops bombs on people, I’m the one paying for those bombs. When “US-led coalition forces” kill people with guns and tanks we supply them, or are better able to fight because we trained them, our country is responsible.

    Fred,

    I’m absolutely sure that the Syrian and Iraqi civilians who knew very well that the Obama administration allowed them to be murdered and tortured for 8 years by ISIS are so very thankful for this. Gee, I remember that the Yazidi women who were being systematically gang-raped begged for us to bomb them. I remember that there were Jewish delegations begging the FDR administration to bomb the concentration camps. I guess they overreacted huh.

    I’m so glad that your cool head reminds us of our responsibility to do absolutely nothing while genocide relentlessly pursues its victims.

    Thanks, Fred.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #15
    • October 18, 2017 at 6:30 pm
    • 2 likes
  16. Contributor

    rico (View Comment):
    So, are you suggesting that we should have stayed out of the war altogether?

    We should have stayed out of the Syrian Civil War altogether. Period.

    We should have let the Kurd and the Iraqi government fight ISIS.

    Our interference in these conflicts creates ripples. The Saudis pulled back their involvement in fighting ISIS because we got involved. They instead put those resources into killing more people in Yemen. The more forces the US put into the fight against ISIS, the more it freed up Iranian backed militias to cause problems elsewhere.

    Giving guns and support to the Kurds will have consequences down the line in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey. We’re already seeing that in Kirkuk where American trained and equipped Kurdish forces are squaring off against American trained and equipped Iraqi government forces and Iranian-backed Shia militias.

    We’re talking about a part of the world where they were playing power politics 2,000 years before Christ was born. They’ll fight it out, get exhausted, and settle things their way. As a general rule, the more local people have to settle these problems without American interference, the better the long term results will be.

    • #16
    • October 18, 2017 at 6:30 pm
    • Like
  17. Member

    Fred Cole (View Comment):
    Civil wars are very messy and bloody. All the more reason not to get involved. The longer they go on, the more people die. And the way to prolong civil wars is for outside forces (for example, the US) to back one side or the other.

    Characterizing the war against ISIS as a civil war is certainly a novel concept. And leaving ISIS in place to establish a caliphate and dominate innocent civilians seems rather uncharitable on our part when we have the capability of freeing those people.

    I guess there are differing opinions about the meaning of moral responsibility.

    • #17
    • October 18, 2017 at 6:32 pm
    • 2 likes
  18. Thatcher

    Moderator Note:

    CoC

    [Redacted.]

    • #18
    • October 18, 2017 at 6:37 pm
    • Like
  19. Contributor

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    I’m absolutely sure that the Syrian and Iraqi civilians who knew very well that the Obama administration allowed them to be murdered and tortured for 8 years by ISIS are so very thankful for this. Gee, I remember that the Yazidi women who were being systematically gang-raped begged for us to bomb them. I remember that there were Jewish delegations begging the FDR administration to bomb the concentration camps. I guess they overreacted huh.

    I’m so glad that your cool head reminds us of our responsibility to do absolutely nothing while genocide relentlessly pursues its victims.

    Okay, so let me clarify a few things for you here because … you need some clarification:

    1. ISIS didn’t make serious territorial gains until 2013. So we’re not talking about eight years of “the Obama administration allowed them to be murdered and tortured.”
    2. Obama was all to eager to get us involved, yet again, in another war. He knew there was no public support for a ground war, but he lacked the fortitude necessary to stay the hell out.
    3. Thank you for Godwinning the thread. But let me take the bait, because if FDR wanted to help Jews, the way to do it would have been to let in the people onboard the SS St. Louis to enter the United States. It was the disgusting nativist politics in the US at the time that prevented that from happening.
    4. Not wanting to get involved in other people’s civil wars is different from “absolutely nothing while genocide relentlessly pursues its victims.” There are other ways to help the situation than to drop bombs on people.
    5. Five million people have fled Syria, with another six million internally displaced. The number of those people let into the US is tiny. The US has the largest economy in the world could easily accommodate a large numbers of people, instead we have a new strain of shameful “America First” nativism driven by people who cower in fear from war refugees and demagogic politicians.
    • #19
    • October 18, 2017 at 6:42 pm
    • 1 like
  20. Contributor

    rico (View Comment):
    Characterizing the war against ISIS as a civil war is certainly a novel concept.

    It certainly fit the definition:

    A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology,[1] is a war between organized groups within the same state or country. The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region or to change government policies.

    How would you classify it?

    • #20
    • October 18, 2017 at 6:49 pm
    • Like
  21. Member

    The Islamic State was founded to establish a new state spanning the boundaries of existing states. It does not fit any of the criteria you presented.

    • #21
    • October 18, 2017 at 6:59 pm
    • 1 like
  22. Contributor

    rico (View Comment):
    The Islamic State was founded to establish a new state spanning the boundaries of existing states. It does not fit any of the criteria you presented.

    I can (and did) make the case that it applies.

    But you didn’t answer my question:

    How would you classify it?

    If you have a label that fits better, I’m curious to hear what it is.

    • #22
    • October 18, 2017 at 7:04 pm
    • Like
  23. Member

    Fred, I just described it.

    • #23
    • October 18, 2017 at 7:09 pm
    • 1 like
  24. Contributor

    rico (View Comment):
    Fred, I just described it.

    Yeah. Do you have a label for it? If it’s not a “civil war,” it’s gotta be something, right.

    • #24
    • October 18, 2017 at 7:12 pm
    • Like
  25. Thatcher

    Fred Cole (View Comment):
    Five million people have fled Syria, with another six million internally displaced. The number of those people let into the US is tiny. The US has the largest economy in the world could easily accommodate a large numbers of people, instead we have a new strain of shameful “America First” nativism driven by people who cower in fear from war refugees and demagogic politicians.

    Fred,

    Because the war was allowed to fester on and on that many refugees were in camps in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan. Once they were in the camps they could have easily gone back to their homes once the war ended. In fact, when questioned that is exactly what they wanted to do. Instead, they were lured into becoming migrants. They weren’t in danger of losing their lives in the facilities that they were already in so they were migrants, not refugees. A lie that is still being told by the EU to ram an infinite number of migrants down their member nation’s throats.

    Obama’s cowardice created the problem. Then his administration relentlessly lied about accepting a ludicrous number of unvetted unabsorbable migrants and blaming the American people for their completely understandable reticence. As in almost everything else the Obama administration did, Gruber & Rhodes, lying was central. A hideous cultural Marxist knows only to spew propaganda.

    I don’t think there is anyone who is a serious person on the face of this earth who actually believes it would be a good idea to let ISIS go on murdering for another decade. Of course, there is always you Fred. Truly you are the exception to every rule.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #25
    • October 18, 2017 at 7:15 pm
    • 2 likes
  26. Member

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    rico (View Comment):
    Fred, I just described it.

    Yeah. Do you have a label for it? If it’s not a “civil war,” it’s gotta be something, right.

    Right. It is something. I just described that something in twenty words or less. Isn’t that good enough for you? What can a label provide that a description doesn’t?

    • #26
    • October 18, 2017 at 7:21 pm
    • 1 like
  27. Contributor

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    Because the war was allowed to fester on and on that many refugees were in camps in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan. Once they were in the camps they could have easily gone back to their homes once the war ended. In fact, when questioned that is exactly what they wanted to do. Instead, they were lured into becoming migrants. They weren’t in danger of losing their lives in the facilities that they were already in so they were migrants, not refugees. A lie that is still being told by the EU to ram an infinite number of migrants down their member nation’s throats.

    Okay, they pretended to be war refugees to trick everyone into letting them in? That rather than fleeing from a bloody civil war, they’re migrants that are just scamming everyone?

    • #27
    • October 18, 2017 at 7:22 pm
    • Like
  28. Contributor

    rico (View Comment):
    Right. It is something. I just described that something in twenty words or less. Isn’t that good enough for you? What can a label provide that a description doesn’t?

    Well, you’re disputing me calling it a “civil war,” which is literally is. If it’s not a civil war, I want to know what it is.

    The ISIS war (which we don’t even have a name for, because it would require us as a nation to discuss it) is obviously part of the Syrian Civil War, and if you want to call what’s going on in Iraq a civil war, it’s part of that one too. Either way, we’re involved in someone else’s civil war.

    • #28
    • October 18, 2017 at 7:32 pm
    • Like
  29. Thatcher

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    Because the war was allowed to fester on and on that many refugees were in camps in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan. Once they were in the camps they could have easily gone back to their homes once the war ended. In fact, when questioned that is exactly what they wanted to do. Instead, they were lured into becoming migrants. They weren’t in danger of losing their lives in the facilities that they were already in so they were migrants, not refugees. A lie that is still being told by the EU to ram an infinite number of migrants down their member nation’s throats.

    Okay, they pretended to be war refugees to trick everyone into letting them in? That rather than fleeing from a bloody civil war, they’re migrants that are just scamming everyone?

    Freddy,

    At least try to follow what I am saying. They were already in camps in safety in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. From there, with the war over, they could have gone home which is what they wanted to do. The whole idea of allowing the ISIS genocidal Jihadist lunatics create a mass migration is perhaps the dumbest sickest policy decision that I can remember. It was a lose-lose-lose proposition. Stupidity on a grand scale. An Obama specialty.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #29
    • October 18, 2017 at 7:35 pm
    • 1 like
  30. Member

    Okay, I get your point. You would prefer that we had allowed the Islamic State to continue it’s raping and murdering of civilians (including kids) while establishing a fully-functioning economically sustainable caliphate founded on the suppression of people’s liberties and literal enslavement of women.

    • #30
    • October 18, 2017 at 7:49 pm
    • Like
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