Except for mopping up operations that will mostly be comprised of taking out a few remaining snipers, Iraqi government forces have defeated ISIS in Mosul, the second most populous city in Iraq. While it’s good news that ISIS has lost territory where it formerly controlled and taxed commerce such as oil revenues, it’s important to note that the world’s most vicious terrorist organization has grown large enough to launch overt military attacks against our allies, Egypt and Afghanistan, to name just two.
Last Friday, July 7, the Egyptian army reported a massive attack by Islamic State’s Egyptian branch, Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province), launched at a security checkpoint in Sinai. The attack dealt a harsh blow against Egypt’s military, leaving 26 its soldiers dead and scores injured.
A suicide car bomber rammed his vehicle into a military checkpoint in the southern Rafah Village of el Barth. Following a huge explosion, dozens of masked men in 24 SUVs began opening fire on the soldiers. The gunfight reportedly lasted for about half an hour during which the army killed 40 of the militants and destroyed many of their vehicles. The surviving militants looted the checkpoint, snatching weapons and ammunition before fleeing.
Two weeks ago, on May 31, Taliban-allied groups (some of whom are known to be ISIS graduates) detonated a car bomb in Kabul killing more than 150—in the capital of Afghanistan. Afghan intelligence blamed the attack on the Haqqani network which is a consortium of Islamo terrorist organizations such as, but not limited to, Al Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban. Moreover, it has deep ties with and funding from Pakistan’s spy service, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Sadly, for the American families who lost sons and daughters in Afghanistan over the previous decade and a half, the terror network now controls about one-third of the population or nearly 10 million people. This is a higher percentage of the population that ISIS controlled in Syria and Iraq at the height of its power in 2014.
Hopefully Trump will learn from the dreadfully costly mistakes of his predecessor and realize, if we expend blood and treasure to take out a threatening regime, we cannot afford to summarily leave, no matter what the American left demands. We need to stay and build commercial and military partnerships, as we did with Japan, Germany, and South Korea and as did the Romans at the height of their empire.