US General Says IS In Iraq And Syria Still Long-Term Threat

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Although the extremist Islamic State group is defeated and dispersed, it cannot be completely defeated until the world finds a way to reconcile and resettle the thousands of people displaced by years of war in Iraq and Syria, said the general overseeing US military operations in the Middle East. Thursday.

Marine General Frank McKenzie, Commander of US Central Command, said there was no military way to resolve the issue of refugees and internally displaced persons in the Middle East, or IDPs, awaiting repatriation or resettlement. and represent what he called an unfortunate by-product of armed conflict.

“Today, across vast swathes of Syria and Iraq, the systemic indoctrination of displaced populations and refugee camps who are hostage to the reception of ISIS ideology is an alarming development with implications potentially generational, ”McKenzie said in remarks to the US National Council. Arab relations.

He said a solution must come from a joint effort of diplomatic, security and humanitarian organizations.

“Unless the international community finds a way to repatriate, to reintegrate into the communities of origin and to support the locally developed reconciliation programs for these people … we buy ourselves a strategic problem in 10 years when these children grow radicalized. If we don’t address this now, we are never really going to defeat ISIS, ”he added.

Over the past six years, starting with former President Barack Obama’s 2014 decision to return US troops to Iraq to halt an advance of ISIS forces into Iraq from Syria, the United States has led an effort to militarily defeat the extremist group in both countries.

But the group was not extinguished, and McKenzie said he had not given up on his aspiration to recreate a caliphate and attack the West.

President Donald Trump has pushed for a full U.S. withdrawal from Syria, saying the conflict is not worth U.S. sacrifices, although there are currently at least several hundred U.S. troops working with local forces to consolidate gains against ISIS.

The United States also has around 3,000 troops still in Iraq; On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced that Trump had ordered a 2,500 draw in Iraq with no change for Syria.

President-elect Joe Biden has long advocated for bringing most US troops home after wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan, while closely focusing the US military on defeating ISIS and al-Qaida .

Trump has pushed for the repatriation of foreign fighters to Syria, but their home countries have largely refused to take them back. He has shown little interest in leading a diplomatic or humanitarian effort to resettle refugees and internally displaced people and improve their economic prospects.

In the short term, McKenzie said, ISIS is unable to pose a major security threat to the United States. The extremist al-Qaida group and like-minded activists are also severely hampered but not eliminated, he said.

Pressure on these groups from the U.S. military and other organizations made it difficult for them to transfer funds, organize plans, and move people needed to carry out external attacks from Iraq or Syria, did he declare.

“Because when you run for your life along the Euphrates Valley, listening to the sound of an armed MQ-9 drone overhead, it’s hard to think of planning an attack on Detroit.” , did he declare.


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