When CIA Director John Brennan on June 16 contradicted President Barack Obama’s upbeat presentation of the state of war against the Islamic State, he too understated the gloom.
In his testimony before the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, Brennan said that although the US has had some success on the battlefield and in choking off the terrorist organization’s funding, “one look at the larger picture shows we are far from a victory,” adding, “Our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach.”
DEBKA Weekly’s military and counterterrorism sources report that as of Thursday, June 23, not only “are we far from victory,” but on two of three fronts, the US-led offensives against ISIS have been thrown back by effective jihadist counteroffensives.
The following is a rundown of the three battlefronts:
The advance of the local Misrata brigades on the ISIS Libyan capital of Sirte, supported by US and Italian special operations units, has been stopped in its tracks, after failing in the attempt to reach the center of the city. Our military experts report that without the right air cover, there is no chance of capturing Sirte. Talks between Washington, London and Paris on deploying air strength to the Sirte arena are in impasse. They are now discussing operating their air forces in the framework of NATO, as they did in 2011 during the war to oust thy Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi – so far with no headway.
In a counterattack on Monday, June 20, ISIS drove the Syrian army out of Raqqa province and killed dozens of troops. This operation brought to a halt the Syrian army offensive that had advanced 12 miles toward Tabqa, west of the town of Raqqa, where ISIS has located its Syrian headquarters. ISIS also drove back into areas from which its forces had been ousted north of Aleppo and around Manbij, recapturing three villages south of the latter from a US-trained Sunni militia, the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is dominated by the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units . A striking feature of these surprise attacks was the increased use of suicide bomber bands, not seen until now in Syria.
Washington is bending every effort to disguise the truth about the battle for Fallujah by sugarcoating it as a victory against ISIS. In truth, atrocities against the city’s Sunni population are not only being perpetrated by pro-Iranian Shiite militias, but also by Iraqi federal police forces and special anti-terror units. The battle to capture the Iraqi city is furthermore still ablaze. ISIS fighters are continuing to fight amid the ruins of the city.
The only way for ISIS to be beaten is to flatten every building in the city, one by one. Meanwhile, the liberation of Fallujah from the Islamic terrorists, hoped for by the Obama administration, is far off.