Gathering Momentum Against ISIS

After a “frustratingly long time,” the coalition is beginning to see movement in the operation to reclaim Ramadi, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. “In the last 24 hours, the [Iraqi Security Forces] retook the Anbar Operations Center on the northern bank of the Euphrates River, across from Ramadi’s city center,” Carter said. “This is an important step, but there is still tough fighting ahead,” he said, noting that successes like those show “that training, advising, and assisting is the right approach.” Carter also detailed “the new things” the coalition is doing, specifically “applying multiple pressures, on multiple fronts, simultaneously,” to defeat ISIS. But committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the downing of the Russian plane, the bombings in Beirut, the attacks in Paris, and the shooting in San Bernardino “make it clear that ISIL’s threat against our homeland is real, direct, and growing, that we are not winning this war, and that time is not on our side.” McCain also disputed claims that “we should not put US forces on the ground, because that is what ISIL wants.” As long as ISIS can “claim to possess its caliphate, it projects an aura of success that is its most powerful tool of radicalization and recruitment,” he said.