News / Middle East

    Pentagon: ISIL ‘Stretched’ in Iraq

    Pentagon: ISIL ‘Stretched’ in Iraqi
    X
    Jeff Seldin
    July 04, 2014 12:02 AM
    Senior U.S. military leaders say Sunni militants creeping closer to Baghdad are stretched thin and that Iraqi security forces could hold the capital if attacked. But as far as U.S. help in striking back against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the officials warn the U.S. is not there yet. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.

    Senior U.S. military leaders say Sunni militants creeping closer to Baghdad are stretched thin and that Iraqi security forces could hold the capital if attacked.   But as far as U.S. help in striking back against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the officials warn the U.S. is not there yet.

    The offensive was rapid and overwhelming - militants fighting under ISIL’s banner taking over town after town in northern Iraq.

    Now, they are meeting with more resistance in places like Tikrit.  And top U.S. General Martin Dempsey says it appears their reach is waning.

    “They (ISIL) are stretched right now, stretched to control what they’ve gained and stretched across their logistics, lines of communication.”

    That’s given Iraq’s security forces time to regroup, added Dempsey, who is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces.

    “The ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) are stiffening, that they’re capable of defending Baghdad, that they would be challenged to go on the offense, mostly logistically challenged,” said Dempsey.

    But even as Iraq uses planes from Russia and Iran to expand its reach against ISIL, Iraqi officials are upset that similar help from the U.S. has been slow to materialize - despite the presence of nearly 200 military advisers and surveillance from ships in the Persian Gulf.

    And analysts say there may well be reason to worry, even about Baghdad. Among those concerned is Jessica Lewis from the Institute for the Study of War

    “I think it’s very possible for ISIS (ISIL) to execute a far-away offensive in order to distract or draw off ISF away and leave Baghdad more vulnerable,” says Lewis.

    Recent U.S. actions also suggest Washington's heightened concern - sending additional troops to Iraq to provide security for the embassy and the airport, backed by Apache attack helicopters.

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel elaborated on the measures.

    “We're helping provide our diplomats time and space to work with Sunni, Kurd, Shia political leaders as they attempt to form a new, inclusive national unity government,” said Hagel.

    U.S. military officials insist an inclusive government is the most effective way for Iraq to answer ISIL’s brutality, saying without political progress "the future is pretty bleak."


    Jeff Seldin

    Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jose Lopez from: USA
    July 14, 2014 7:02 PM
    Iraq needs to fight for its sovereignty. USA is doing what it should protect the airports with troops and Apaches.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    July 04, 2014 9:48 AM
    The (ISIL) Sunni Muslim "Emir of the Believers" and now "The Caliph of all Islam" al-Baghdadi and his army, with all it's foreign fighters and Sunni Muslim recruits, still only totals less than 10,000 men.... but the hundreds of Sunni Muslim tribes that swore (Bay'ah) oath of allegiance to al-Baghdadi boosts his army to about 50,000 to 100,000 fighters, spread over thousands of square miles in Iraq and Syria....

    Maliki with the wisdom of King Solomon and the courage of the Mongol hordes, can defeat al-Baghdadi and his (ISIL) army by blowing up all the gas stations, bridges, and pickup trucks in the (ISIL) army held territory, and laying siege to just one single city or town at a time, (that the (ISIL) army controls) and lay waste to it, where nobody will ever fight over it again..... and have the Iraq government leadership appoint Muslim Judges (Qadis), to mete out instant Islamic Justice, (that's final, and irrevocable).... on all the foreign fighters, and (ISIL) fighters, and the Sunni Muslim tribal fighters, who committed terroristic acts against the Iraqi people.....
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    July 04, 2014 2:09 PM
    MALIKI, with the wisdom of King Solomon, and the war tactics that the Mongol hordes would use now, could "win" the war in months, and defeat the al-Baghdadi (ISIL) army, and bring the Sunni Muslim allied (ISIL) tribes to the negotiating table......

    REMEMBER?... The al-Baghdadi (ISIL) army is spread out over thousands of square miles of Iraq and Syria, that the (ISIL) al-Baghdadi army has seized, with the help of the Sunni Muslim tribes that swore the oath (Bay'ah) of allegiance to him, (and they need a really big supply of gas, and pickup trucks), and if the Maliki army destroys and bombs all the gas stations, fuel trucks, and the bridges, and destroy all the pickup trucks, in the (ISIL) army controlled territories, victory will be assured in months.....

    THE WISE MAN said it? -- "Cut off the fuel supply, and his means of transportation, and the dreams of al-Baghdadi forming his (ISIL) Caliphate, (where he, or nobody else can drive to), will end in the waste of the desert sands" .... Victory is assured as long as Maliki doesn't listen to those who arm his enemy....

    by: ali baba from: new york
    July 04, 2014 5:17 AM
    Iraq forces can stop them. This is not the end of the story .The countries which supported them and supply money and weapons have to be identified .it sound politically incorrect because of lobby and oil. the Arab community in Europe and USA are accommodating the extremist .give them shelter. find wife to be a citizen. give money to secure a students visa. then at the end of the day they send a person with suit and tie . use c span and other media to give us lesson about love and peace in Islam. We have enough of double standard from the country whom supported the terrorism because they want spread the ideology. we hear about madrassa. We hear about video circulating about the important of Jihad. we hear about Egyptian imam was convicted in American court with terrorism charges. These are the root of the problem. these are the root of the problem that cause many killed because of the jihad.

    by: Climp Jones
    July 04, 2014 12:27 AM
    Now that ISIS has strengthened their position in Iraq along its Border's with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia the possibility of ISIS mounting an Offensive other than one on Baghdad is a very likely scenario. Security south of Baghdad is soft and very much available to raids and the holding of raided area's of anywhere to 24 hours to possibly weeks based on Iraq's Military and Security Forces performance to date. Also now that ISIS has gained control of the aforementioned Border Areas they've also expanded their logistical/transit capabilities/opportunities.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora