Since President Trump entered the White House, he’s made it his mission to eliminate ISIS, and airstrikes have been a frequently used method of attack.
According to The Daily Caller, President Trump’s administration made a shocking announcement regarding airstrikes. They have to cut back on the number of airstrikes because there are fewer targets to attack with them.
Air Force Brig. Gen. Andrew A. Croft told reporters at the Pentagon that airstrikes are down 60 percent because of ISIS’ territorial losses. “That’s indicative of the fact that ISIS is collapsing, not only as a physical caliphate but also in ownership of land. They only now control about 4 or 5 percent of the original area they covered, so the number of targets has dropped dramatically in the last month,” he said.
Interestingly, Gen. Croft says even though airstrikes are down, the need for aircraft will remain consistent to find terrorists hiding in the desert. “We will see a continued requirement for aircraft such as our remotely piloted aircraft.”
In addition to fewer airstrikes, there are no major ground operations conducted by the US or US-backed forces. Since the taking of ISIS’ capital city of Raqqa and the city of Mosul, there haven’t been any new operations requiring a heavy ground presence.
In spite of these losses, the US believes there are thousands of militants hiding in the desert regions of Iraq and Syria. It’s widely thought that ISIS is returning to its original insurgency roots in the face of numerous losses to both numbers and territory.
With ISIS returning to the shadows, it’s likely they will renew their internet activities to enhance recruitment efforts to swell their dwindling numbers and carry out new attacks. According to The Independent, ISIS is facing similar losses online as well.
In addition to online counter efforts by governmental intelligence agencies, anti-ISIS activists are using their hacking skills to combat ISIS online. These hackers sabotage websites, infest ISIS computers with malware and a number of other viral attacks meant to cripple ISIS’ online presence and root out members.
ISIS opponents are targeting their social media presence, websites, propaganda videos, and even their communication apps in an effort to bring ISIS to its knees in the online world. And so far, it’s working.
One particularly effective attack saw an ISIS propaganda site riddled with “back door” malware whenever recruits or supporters accessed the site. This virus then tracked large amounts of information, such as GPS locations, contact info, phone messages, and could even steal files or activate cameras to help authorities track down ISIS members and supporters.
President Trump’s administration is ordering fewer airstrikes because there are fewer targets! Has Trump accomplished more against ISIS than President Obama?
With ISIS losing territory both in the real world and online, their ability to wage terror is likely to be severely hindered. It’s encouraging that the US military has been so effective in their attacks that they’ve had to scale back airstrikes due to lack of targets.
While ISIS may never fully dissipate, this continued effort on nearly every front to restrict their efforts will hopefully disrupt potential attacks and dissuade new members from joining. Perhaps over time as their power and influence continue to fade, their threat will similarly fall away.