ISIL is really operating as a criminal gang and death cult,sending naieve and gullible recruits to die by the hundreds,General John R. Allen,US Marine Corps Retired,Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL,told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 25 February.ISIL has lost one half of its Iraq-based leadership.We actually do have pretty good intelligence in this matter.
The number of ISIL recruits is up because we're tracking them better,and because of the Caliphate's appeal.Defeating ISIL is when they are not an existential threat to Iraq or other states in the region.We want them to have no operational capability,break them up into small organisations that can't mass to be operationally significant.
I have met with many of the sheikhs,and I've been very pleased with their willingness to accept the leadership of Prime Minister Abadi and the Defence Minister.We're training and equipping 12 Iraqi brigades,three of them Kurdish.There will be a clearing force and a holding force,plus immediate humanitarian assistance.It's very important that the effort have an Arab face and a Muslim voice.
The Syrian recruitment numbers (for training to fight ISIL in Syria) are much higher than we thought.We have an old friendship with Turkey,and think there has been much progress toward providing protection for the moderate Syrian forces.The real issue is,how do we protect our allies?
ISIL is an evil that we haven't seen in a very long time.As long as we're at the front of it,we can prevent another 9-11.The interpretation that they apply has permitted them to do the things they have done to certain groups such as Christians and Yazidis.The infusion of a large conventional,maneuverable force would change the nature of the conversation.The US brings to bear:
1.The capacity of our strategic leadership of the 62 countries and five Arab air forces in first strike.
2.Technical,intelligence support,special operations strke capabilities,training and the aggregation of these.
3.The capacity for Arab partners to be the defeat mechanism for Daesh,the Arabic word for ISIL.
There have been about 2500 air strikes since the campaign began on 8 August 2014.The combination of US and coalition airpower,together with the training and equipping of regional forces will enable us to achieve our strategic goals.
We are not cooperating with Iran.We are not accommodating Iran.
The President's proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force has limitations about offensive maneuver forces.We may find that locations or allies may need to be defended.Each of those circumstances would have to be judged independently.There's a prohibition in the AUMF against the use of large,enduring ground forces such as those we used in Iraq and Afghanistan."Enduring" might be only two weeks-or it might be two years.It's all about matching the contingency,explained General Allen,who was the Afghan War commander from 2011-13.