U.S.-backed forces said Tuesday they have captured Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria, wrenching away the terror group’s last major urban stronghold in the Middle East. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by U.S. airstrikes and American special forces on the ground, said they had completed their four-month battle for the city Islamic State used as a nerve center to plan and stage attacks on the West.
….Preparations for the recapture began nearly a year ago, with the SDF and U.S. special forces on the ground—supported by American airstrikes—taking the hinterlands of Raqqa to inch towards the city.
The war against ISIS isn’t completely over, but it’s pretty close. As you can see in the latest map from the Institute for the Study of War, ISIS still controls some territory, but it’s mostly lightly occupied and nonstrategic:
ISW is already talking about the “War After ISIS,” which currently pits Iraqi Kurds against the Iraqi central government.
ISIS is hardly Barack Obama’s finest moment. He was late to understand what was happening and slow to do anything about it. But in the end he did do something about it, and he did the right thing: he kept the US footprint light; he avoided rules of engagement that would inflame the very people we were trying to liberate; and he understood that the only route to victory lay in a slow but steady campaign. It wasn’t sexy, but it worked.
In a few weeks or months, Donald Trump will announce that we’ve won the war against ISIS. Will he give Obama any recognition for this? Of course not. So that means the rest of us will have to do it for him.