CENTCOM Official: ISIS In Decline

The military campaign against ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria is proving successful so far, a US Central Command official said on Feb. 19. Current operations have severely hampered two of three “centers of gravity,” meaning ISIS can no longer operate as a “conventional, unconventional, and as a hybrid threat.” In addition, the organization’s “ability to govern is very, very limited. And, that is actually one of the tenets of what they want to be able to accomplish long-term,” said the official, who spoke on background via satellite to reporters at the Pentagon. In addition, ISIS is struggling to seize and hold additional terrain beyond what it has right now. “In fact, in Iraq, [ISIS is] losing ground every single day,” said the official, who acknowledged that that might seem like a contradiction considering recent reports that ISIS had gained control of al-Baghdadi in the western province of Anbar, placing them in close proximity to Al Asad Air Base. Operationally, ISIS is on the defense, said the official. “That does not mean that [ISIS] cannot conduct limited and/or isolated offensive operations,” the official added. “But, [it] is in a zero-sum game kind of environment. If [ISIS], for example, were to decide to put 1,000 new fighters back up into Khobani, that means [it] would not be doing something somewhere else … In total, our effects are outpacing [the organization’s] ability to regenerate, and I think that’s a critical point.” (Briefing transcript.)