Dunford: Daesh Caliphate is gone, but threat remains

There can be no doubt that the strategy to drive ISIS from its so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq has succeeded, but that doesn't mean the struggle against the ideology is over, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in Baghdad.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford met with U.S. and coalition leaders in Iraq's capital to discuss the next steps in the strategy to stop the terror group from ever coming back. He met with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew H. Tueller and Army Lt. Gen. Paul LaCamera, the commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, US DEPT of Defense official website said.

The bottom line is the ISIS threat has not gone away, the chairman said. 

The physical caliphate is defeated, but ISIS has not disappeared. ISIS has reverted to a guerilla group, with individuals banding together to launch small attacks. Combating this threat requires different skills, and the coalition has changed to mirror the new reality. 

What needs to happen on the military side is development of an adaptive mind set, LaCamera said. "The mission doesn't change, but we have to be adaptive," he added.

Local forces have proven adaptive, as Iraqi and Syrian forces cleared ISIS from the ground it held. "I believe that what has happened in both Syria and Iraq is a model for training, advising and enabling local forces," Dunford said.

"I think we have significantly changed the character of the threat. I think we have disrupted them. We have cleared them. … But we need to realize that this is a long-term campaign, and until the conditions that fed ISIS in the first place are addressed, there is still violence across the Middle East," he said. "And as we know, ISIS is not only just a threat here, but it is a transregional threat."




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