A report by the American Army concluded that the elimination of the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, last October, did not stop the terrorist operations, and did not lead to an immediate deterioration of his capabilities. He warned that a possible withdrawal of US forces from Iraq could "probably" lead to the resurgence of "ISIS" militants.
The US Central Command and Military Intelligence Agency assessed the impact of al-Baghdadi's killing on ISIS capabilities, and submitted the report to the Pentagon. The report pointed out that ISIS is carrying out its plans without interruption, despite the killing of Al-Baghdadi.
The report quoted the Central American Command responsible for US forces in the Middle East as saying that the organization "preserved its cohesion, with a structure of a leadership that remained unchanged and secret networks in cities and presence in the majority of rural areas in Syria."
Both the US Central Command and the Military Intelligence Agency concluded that al-Baghdadi's death "did not cause any immediate retreat of the organization's capabilities in Iraq and Syria."
On October 27, US President Donald Trump announced the killing of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in an operation launched by the American Special Operations Forces on his site in Idlib Governorate, northwestern Syria. Less than a week later, the organization announced the appointment of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi as his successor.
The US Central Command's report considers that Al-Baghdadi’s death is the latest evidence of the continuing work to defeat the terrorist organization, indicating that the policy of striking high-level leaders in the organization may not be effective in eliminating the threat it still poses.
The US Central Command informed the Pentagon's inspector general's office that, following the killing of al-Baghdadi, ISIS remained coherent with a sound command and control structure, covert networks, and insurgent presence in many rural areas of Syria.
The remnants of ISIS are currently trying to regroup and launch attacks, as well as incite external attacks, similar to the individual wolves in the West.
With the escalation of tension between Washington and Tehran following the killing of the commander of the "Quds Force" in the Iranian "Revolutionary Guard", General Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad on January 3, this was reflected in the military operations carried out by the international coalition forces in Iraq against ISIS. The American forces suspended their operations against the organization to focus on protecting approximately 5,200 American soldiers in Iraq.
The US-led coalition has provided training and air support to Iraqi forces since 2014 to help them defeat ISIS. But the suspension of coalition operations led to the suspension of operations and the launch of air strikes temporarily.
The Iraqi parliament voted for the departure of the American forces, but Washington refused this. Iraqi forces resumed operations against militants with the US-led coalition at the end of January.
The US Inspector General's report said: "It is not clear whether the American forces will be able to stay in Iraq?", Adding that "without the presence of American forces in Iraq, ISIS will most likely reappear" in this country.
In Baghdad, the German News Agency reported that the resigned Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi confirmed the day before yesterday, his country's position regarding the implementation of the Iraqi parliament’s decision to withdraw foreign forces from Iraq. Abdul-Mahdi stressed, during his meeting with General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the US Army Central Command, on "the importance of friendly relations between the two countries and cooperation in the field of combating terrorism and keenness to keep Iraq away from being an arena for conflict and aggression on any party." He said that «the House’s decision to withdraw foreign forces contributes to maintaining security and stability and meeting the renewed requirements and needs of Iraq and its people.
For his part, General MacKenzie expressed his country's keenness "to continue joint cooperation against terrorism, support the capabilities and training of Iraqi forces, and enhance Iraq’s security and stability. To watch more about Arab News Latest, Arab Politics News