One of Trump’s major commitments during his campaign was to push a tougher policy on combating Islamic extremism across the world. His primary goal: to defeat the Islamic State wherever they reside to protect America and the world from this existential threat.
News has broken that U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi forces are within a hair’s breadth of liberating Mosul — the ISIS capital in Iraq — where Iraq’s ISIS branch will be making their last stand. (via Business Insider)
Iraqi forces are already celebrating, as the victory appears inevitable. As the culmination of over nine months of intense urban warfare, they are expected to have complete control over what was previously Iraq’s second largest city within the week.
In response, it seems that ISIS is getting desperate. They have been widely known for making videos of beheading their victims, burning people alive, and destroying cultural heritage sites. Much in the same way that concentration camps in World War II increased the rate of their grim task near the end of the war as the allied advance drew near, so to is ISIS ramping up their death count. Just a few hours ago they burned 12 civilians to death in iron cages.
Allied Forces have also retaken the Grand Al-Nuri Mosque, a symbolic victory, as the well-known site was used by Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi three years ago to first declare his caliphate. But now, the Iraqi half of ISIS will be almost completely retaken, with just some pieces of territory to the south and west of Mosul remaining.
During the past three years, historical Christians in this area have faced unmatched persecution for their religious beliefs. When ISIS first bombed the city of Mosul, Christian houses were marked with the Arabic equivalent of the letter “N” for Nazarene. This “marked” all Christians in the city, and they were given an ultimatum: leave immediately, die, or be forcibly converted to Islam.
ISIS continued their advance and cleared out many ancient towns and villages of the Nineveh province, the historical homeland of Iraqi Christians, with over 100,000 having to flee. (via CNN)
Much of this success can be attributed to the Trump Administration’s new approach against fighting the terrorists. Defense Secretary James Mattis spoke earlier in June regarding his strategy, stating, “By taking the time upfront to surround these locations, instead of simply shoving them from one [location] to another and actually reinforcing them as they fall back … we now take the time to surround them.”
He continued: “Those foreign fighters are a threat, so by taking the time to deconflict, to surround, and then attack, we carry out the annihilation campaign, so we don’t simply transplant this problem from one location to another.” (via Business Insider)
While somme in the military have been taken aback by the boldness of Mattis’s words, none have disputed the results. With the U.S. playing a key role in the ISIS conflict, carrying out 95% of the strikes in Syria and 68% of those in Iraq, Mattis’s contribution to the effort cannot be understated.
ISIS is crumbling. The Russian government claims they have killed al-Bagdadi in an airstrike at the end of May. While that is being investigated by both Russian and American intelligence, if it is true, ISIS is currently without a leader, making the defeat of the Islamic State even more likely. (via CNN)
President Trump’s bold leadership is paying off.