The terrorist group ISIS is no longer the threat it used to be.Though it may be diminished, ISIS is far from defeated. As it loses ground in the Middle East, its fighters disperse to cause trouble all over the world, particularly in Muslim countries. “ISIS has not limited itself to Iraq and Syria and, therefore, neither have we,” said Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Brett McGurk at a recent Coalition meeting.
“This meeting itself is an indication of our ongoing commitment to finish the job in Iraq and Syria and ensure that ISIS cannot regenerate elsewhere, particularly on the African continent.”
In Syria, ISIS retains just 2 percent of the territory it once held. At that time, “Nearly 7.7 million people were living under [ISIS], they were generating about 1 billion dollars every year, and their expansion looked to be unchecked,” said Special Envoy McGurk. And on May 1st, Syrian Democratic Forces resumed offensive operations against those last bits of territory. “They are ensuring that ISIS remnants have no escape as we accelerate operations into these remaining strongholds.”
In Iraq, the fight is over, but the ISIS threat remains. Here, too, stabilization is the key. To date, nearly 4 million displaced Iraqi have returned to their homes in areas that were once held by ISIS. Nonetheless, stabilization projects must continue so that the 2 million Iraqis who are still displaced can return home.
Finally, in Africa, the Coalition is working with partners to support their efforts to deny space to ISIS and other extremist groups. The Coalition will continue to work to close their facilitation networks and transit routes running through Libya, Sudan, and the Maghreb.
“We are committed not to quick wins, but to the enduring defeat of ISIS. An enduring defeat means more than simply the collapse of the so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria. It means a holistic defeat in the ideological and media space, combatting foreign fighters as they move around the globe, uprooting financial networks, and supporting local forces, military and police, to defend their homelands,” said Special Envoy McGurk.
“We are proud as proud as we can be of the successes in Iraq and Syria.”