"We now have momentum in this fight [against ISIL] and clear results on the ground." That is the assessment of U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in a speech to the Counter-ISIL Foreign and Defense Minister Meeting. "Together," he said, "we are going to destroy the fact and the idea of an Islamic state based on ISIL's barbaric ideology."
The coalition’s military campaign plan has three objectives. First, to destroy ISIL in Iraq and Syria. As recent attacks make clear, ISIL’s safe havens threaten not only the lives of the Iraqi and Syrian peoples, but also the security of people around the world. And the sooner ISIL is defeated in Iraq and Syria, the safer everyone will be. But while it’s necessary to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria, it is not sufficient since this ideology can and in some cases – such as in Afghanistan and Libya – has spread.
The second objective is to combat ISIL’s metastases everywhere they emerge around the world. And the third objective is to support diplomatic, economic, homeland and border security, intelligence, and law enforcement to protect innocent civilians at home from terrorist attack.
A key aspect of the Coalition Military Campaign Plan is to identify local forces who can deliver ISIL a lasting defeat with coalition support. Only local forces can deliver and sustain such a defeat, said Secretary Carter, since it such forces who must hold and govern territory after it has been retaken from ISIL and restore a decent life to the people who live there.
The coalition has pursued a plan to accelerate ISIL’s lasting defeat. A year ago, the entire campaign in Iraq and Syria was put under the single command of Lieutenant General Sean MacFarland.And since then the campaign has advanced, squeezing ISIL and rolling it back towards Raqqa and Mosul. "By isolating those two cities," said Secretary Carter, "we’re effectively setting the stage to collapse ISIL’s control over them."
"Together," said Secretary Carter, "we will deliver ISIL the lasting defeat it deserves."