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 covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More