A retired General has warned that Islamic extremists are gaining ground in the Middle East, and that the US strategy to combat ISIS is woefully outdated.
“Unfortunately, we have lost ground over time,” retired Gen. John P. Abizaid, commented in a recent interview with West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s magazine.
Abizaid, a former commander of U.S. Central Command, also urged that the extremist ideology is becoming stronger.
“The scope of the ideological movement, the geographic dispersion of Islamic extremism, the number of terror attacks, the number of people swearing allegiance, and the ground they hold have all increased,” said Abizaid.
“Groups like the Islamic State have now taken on state-like forms and features that are unlike anything we’ve seen in the past. So on balance we are in a worse position strategically with regard to the growth of international terrorism, Islamic terrorism in particular, than we were after September 2001,” he added.
Abizaid further warned that the US is failing to recognise that borders are crumbling in the Middle East, and that the Pentagon’s strategy is backwards looking.
“I do not think you solve the problem by trying to reinforce the status quo that existed before September 11, 2001,” he said.
“I think the international community and the leaders in the region have got to decide how best to reshape the Middle East and redraw the boundaries to establish stability and a more peaceful structure,” the former General added.
“Nations that are trying to put the status quo back on the map are only going to prolong the conflict and stoke greater violence,” he added. “I do not believe we are capable of putting this all back together again. That strategy is bound to fail.”
Abizaid also suggested that a new strategy is needed to encourage allies to bond together to fight ISIS.
“I’m talking about a raiding strategy where we destroy capability over time in a joint force, which is an integrated international air, ground, and naval effort,” he said.
“Without American leadership, we’re not going to move in a direction that’s going to produce effective results,” Abizaid continued.
“That doesn’t mean we only employ American assets, but it does mean there has to be American commitment to lead the effort and guarantee our partners that there will be some long lasting measures that take place,” the former Commander urged.
Like Abizaid, several other former military and intelligence leaders have spoken out regarding their dissatisfaction with the Obama administration’s strategy against ISIS.
Former DIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn recently revealed that the President routinely turned a deaf ear to updates and reports on the rise of ISIS because they didn’t fit with the narrative the administration was feeding the American public.
Flynn’s analysis dovetails with the claims of scores of CENTCOM employees who say they were given “implied orders” not to report facts on the ground in Iraq regarding terrorist activity. Instead, they were encouraged to substitute economic or environmental information for terror related intelligence.
Describing the policy of discarding credible terror intelligence as “really disheartening,” Retired Army Sgt. 1st Class William Kotel said “They’ve spent more money and time trying to push down this intelligence … than they have actually spending time and effort on real security.”
Up to 50 operatives working with CENTCOM, the US Military’s intelligence arm under the DIA, have charged that their assessments of the fight against ISIS and Al Qaeda are being altered by senior officials to paint a more rosy picture, in order to fit with the Obama administration’s claims that the US is winning the war on terror.
In addition, Flynn’s analysis dovetails with the claims of inside sources who say that Obama does not want and will not read intelligence reports on groups “he does not consider terrorists,” despite being on a U.S. list of designated terrorists.