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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Islamic State Vulnerable, But US Troops Not the Answer

Islamic State Vulnerable, But US Troops Not the Answer

by Wayne White
Regardless of its terrorist spectacles abroad, from Beirut to Paris, the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) continues to lose territory in its Syrian-Iraqi base. Large dollops of US ground forces in roles closer to the fighting are not the answer. Especially in the case of Iraq, more US troops in frontline roles would likely cause already reticent Iraqi forces to rely more heavily on Americans to do their fighting for them. Unfortunately, virtually all local forces now fighting are hostile to the Sunni Arabs constitute most of the population inside IS territory. But foreign occupation is no substitute.
The Islamic State has become more vulnerable. Its finances have deteriorated to the point where its fighters’ pay was reduced earlier this year, and desertions are rising. In Iraq, it continues to lose territory (albeit slowly) such as the town of al-Hit on the Euphrates near the Syrian border earlier this month. More significantly, the IS military position in Syria has become dangerously exposed following gains by the Assad regime and Kurdish Defense Forces (YPG).
Broad YPG conquests across northern Syria, gains by Syrian troops and their various allied forces in western Syria, and the regime’s lunge eastward to Palmyra in south leave much of the Islamic State’s holdings in western and central Syria threatened on three sides. The IS capital Raqqa is vulnerable to US-backed YPG forces from the north and pro-regime forces from the south.

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