London, Great Britain—The Islamic State (ISIS) is going through its final days, according to Major General Felix Gedney, the Deputy Commander of the allied coalition.
Great Britain has been part of the Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led international coalition, since 2014. Operation Shader, the UK component, initially began as a humanitarian aid operation. Quickly, however, it became a combat oriented in response to ISIS’ dramatic gains.
“I’d certainly say they (Daesh) are very close to being tactically defeated, as a ground holding force. Over the past years, we’ve seen remarkable success by our partner forces, supported by the coalition in seizing terrain from ISIS,” said Major General Gedney.
The British officer also acknowledged that most ISIS terrorists have been either killed or captured. The few that remain are hard-pressed to survive. Allied air assets, however, daily ensure that their survival is relentlessly endangered.
“We need to continue air operations, certainly at the moment – we are continuing to support the liberation battles and then we’ll need to make sure that we continue to operate in order to provide security to the troops on the ground and to ensure we don’t lose the gains we’ve made,” added Major General Gedney.
However, the major concern of policymakers and military leaders is to avoid a counterinsurgency. The last remnants of ISIS could very well prove to be a tough nut to crack.
“We must learn from previous campaigns – none of this is unexpected and we are developing Iraqi security forces and local partner forces in Syria, in order to be able to deal with the level of threat that will remain. And that stage of the campaign is nearly over but we then have to continue to do the security and the stabilization effort that must follow. We know that Daesh will continue to be a threat and we know they will attempt to conduct an insurgency – we have to ensure there are local forces that can deal with that,” added the British General.
Alarmingly, the Deputy Commander predicted a “reduction in the numbers of capabilities that we require over the coming years” following ISIS tactical defeat. He didn’t elaborate on the time commitment of British forces.
On a lighter note, the British and many European states, have refused to dance to ISIS’ propaganda tune by calling them with their self-assumed name (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). This name comes with many geopolitical connotations. Instead, they have been calling them Daesh. In Arabic, Daesh has two interpretations: “to trample down and crush” or “a bigot.” It isn’t hard to figure out which one the terrorists wouldn’t prefer.