News / Middle East

    Top US General: Islamic State Fight 'Stalemated'

    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on "Counter-ISIL Strategy" on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 7, 2015.
    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on "Counter-ISIL Strategy" on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 7, 2015.

    The fight against the Islamic State terror group has become "tactically stalemated," according to the United States' top general.

    Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey told a small group of reporters, including VOA, Wednesday in Berlin that challenges on both sides recently have prevented the Islamic militants and the coalition members fighting against them from making any dramatic gains.

    The coalition has intercepted Islamic State supply chains, struck the group's command and control, and pressured the militants from multiple directions.

    The general said the Iraqi military has undergone leadership changes and logistics challenges, however, as the Iraqi government has squabbled internally.

    "This is all about them [the Iraqis] getting their house in order and preparing for a push," he said.

    Problem spots

    The city of Baiji, a major oil city on the road to Mosul, has been hotly contested by Iraqi forces and IS militants for months.

    In May, Iraqi security forces fled from Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, when Islamic State fighters surged in. Iraqi security forces have since moved in near Ramadi in an effort to isolate the IS-controlled town.

    Chairman Dempsey said that the leaders who withdrew from Ramadi have "been replaced" and the weapons needed by Iraqis are available in warehouses, waiting for leaders who can help move them from place to place.

    He reiterated the Pentagon's view that the Iraqi military is not moving too slowly against the militants, but rather is "moving at a pace it can sustain based on the political environment."

    “Iraq will move at the speed of its governance," said Dempsey, "not at the speed of its military capability.

    Stalemate not new

    The chairman's comments mark the second time in a month a top U.S. military leader has used the term "stalemate" to describe the fight against the Islamic State.

    In August, then-chief of the Army, General Ray Odierno told reporters the U.S.-led bombing campaign had helped blunt the offensive by the Islamic State, but warned that "right now we are kind of in a stalemate."

    Asked whether the United States should put troops on the ground, Odierno said if the fight in Iraq is not making the kind of progress it needs in the next few months, the United States "should probably absolutely consider embedding some soldiers [with Iraqi forces], then see if that would make a difference."

    Dempsey is traveling on the first leg of his last international trip as Joint Chiefs Chairman. He will also visit Turkey and Estonia during the trip to discuss the Islamic State threat on NATO's southern flank and the potential threat of Russian aggression in eastern Europe.


    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Korea, Japan and Egypt.

    You May Like

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: williweb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
    September 10, 2015 5:42 AM
    The US has sophisticated satellite surveillance. We know where they are at and what they are doing. They are holed up with their hostages in the thousands. We, the Kurds, and the Iraqis can make a move at the time of our choosing. The only thing they can do is react and continue with their nuisance suicide raids. Who do you think is going to blink first?

    by: Not Again from: Canada
    September 09, 2015 8:45 PM
    It is a sad day to hear the US senior mil. officer state that the fight is stalemated. A bunch of terrorists, with no air force, no naval forces, no space command, bare electronics, basic munitions....... has stalemated the "greatest military power on the planet". There is something fundamentally wrong with this assessment. If the allied forces had used the same approach in WWII, with the same type of defeatist leadership, we would be all speaking German now. Western taxpayers have spent trillions, most of it US taxpayers, to educate, train, develop the most powerful fighting forces that ever walked the planet, the US forces being by far the largest and best trained and equipped...... Something is fundamentally wrong with all of it; just imagine how more emboldened will the adversaries of the West be, when such conclusions are put forward.
    During WWII, without the daily 1000s bomber raids, the war would still be going on. Well I think that we will see what Russia and its regional clients' forces will do, maybe they also will fall flat on their project? Totally amazing situation; putting ground forces in, before the enemy is pulverised from the air also makes no sense, look at Iraq, and Afghanistan.
    In Response

    by: blatant isn't it from: USA
    September 10, 2015 11:36 AM
    From my understanding very few Muslims think ISIS is actually a Muslim group. The UN has recorded them receiving medical and material aid from Israel. Their tactics are against everything the Muslims say they stand for and their is no history of their actions in Muslim conflicts. There are however examples of their actions in US and Israel conflicts. The US probably is being given instructions from the Zionists not to do any real damage to ISIS as they are an effective divide and conquer force. Their presence is weakling the area and making it ripe for take over. That's probably why the US created them in the first place.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    September 09, 2015 11:43 PM
    Hey Not Again, Everything you say is true, [but], even if the US has the greatest military on the planet, they still need a competent leader that has a plan to win the wars they fight, don't they? .. REMEMBER? .. In 2009 president Obama started withdrawing US troop from the battlefields, and introduced his new anti-terrorist plan that used warplanes and drone bombs to degrade the terrorists? .. [Everybody on earth knows that?] .. The fact is, Obama hasn't any strategy to win any war against any terrorist group in the world? .. And when the US starts talking stalemate, that means the US is about ready to quit this war too? .. We'll see, won't we?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora