Monday, March 28, 2016

FIGHTING ISIS - Battlefield and OnLine

"Fighting ISIS, on the battlefield and online" PBS NewsHour 3/25/2016


SUMMARY:  Is the U.S. making headway in the fight against the Islamic State group?  Judy Woodruff talks to retired Col. Derek Harvey, a former Army intelligence officer, and Brendan Koerner of Wired Magazine, about the military offensive against ISIS, including the killing of a senior leader, and the resiliency of the group on social media.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford, spoke this morning at the Pentagon about the fight against the Islamic State.  While hailing operations to kill top ISIS leaders like the one we reported earlier, they sought to put the longer war in context.

ASHTON CARTER, Secretary of Defense:  There's no question that this individual and other individuals we have eliminated have been part of the apparatus of ISIL to recruit and to motivate foreign fighters, both to return from Iraq and Syria to countries in Europe and elsewhere, and also simply by using the Internet and other communications to do so.

Even if it's just inspiration, it still takes you back to Iraq and Syria and the need to eliminate the sources of that inspiration.

GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff:  While ISIL has not been able to seize ground in the past several months, that hasn't precluded them from conducting terrorist attacks, and it hasn't precluded them from conducting operations that are more akin to guerrilla operations than the conventional operations that we saw when they were seizing territory.

So, I think the momentum is in our favor.  I think there's a lot of reasons for us to be optimistic about the next several months.  But by no means would I say that we're about to break the back of ISIL or that the fight is over.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Dunford and Carter also spoke of expanding the role of U.S. Marines in Northern Iraq and the possibility of sending more forces in the coming weeks, adding to the nearly 4,000 already there.

We examine the state of the fight against ISIS now with retired Army Colonel Derek Harvey.  He was an intelligence officer and special adviser to the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus.  He's now a professor at the University of South Florida.  And Brendan Koerner is a contributing editor at “Wired” magazine.  He's the author of an upcoming article about ISIS and its use of social media.

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