ISIS “On the Run” Says Mattis
US and Coalition “Steadfast” With Iraq for ISIS Defeat
The United States and its coalition partners remain unwavering in their commitment to Iraq in defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in Baghdad, August 22.
Mattis spoke to reporters with Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat ISIS, and Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, the commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.
Hard Fighting Ahead
“We in the coalition will remain steadfast with our Iraqi allies — all the way through the defeat of ISIS,” Mattis said. “It’s not over yet. There’s hard fighting ahead.”
The defense secretary commended efforts from U.S., coalition and Iraqi forces, lauding the positive gains since Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi took office in 2014.
“Today the security for the Iraqi people has been greatly improved,” Mattis said, pointing out that Iraqi cities have been liberated, people freed from the terrorists’ brutal rule, and the Iraqi economy is recovering.
ISIS is “On the Run”
Iraq is reengaging with the region, he said, and ISIS is “on the run.”
The terrorists, he said, “have been shown to be unable to stand up to our team in combat and they have not retaken one inch of ground that they’ve lost.”
Mattis said the United States is dedicated to the strategic framework agreement to stand with the Iraqi people and their military to help secure a better future and maintain stability and security.
Re-Opening Arar and Turaibil Border Crossings
McGurk highlighted positive regional developments, to include the Arar border crossing between Iraq and Saudi Arabia opening for the first time since 1990. In addition, he said, Iraqi and Jordanian officials are discussing the re-opening of the Turaibil border crossing, a nearly $1 billion-a-month commerce route.
“We’re looking very closely at the future beyond [ISIS] and we are encouraged by the leadership of Prime Minister Abadi with this regional engagement,” McGurk said. “We think it is really delivering some results and a very promising development here on the ground.
Source: US Department of Defense
Image US Army 82nd Airborne Div, 2nd BCT, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, OP in Mosul, Iraq, 7 March 2017, by Staff Sergeant Alex Manne (US Army, DVIDS)