There is an increasing probability ISIS will begin a new offensive in Iraq to try and expand their reach within the country, warns a former top U.S. official in Iraq.
Fox News National Security Analyst KT McFarland spoke to Army Gen. Jay Garner about the coalition’s strategy against the terror group.
“They are kind of in a stalemate in Syria … although it looks like they are making some movement in Iraq now, and I think you can see them beginning to nibble on the edges of other Arab Sunni countries, they are beginning to expand,” said Garner (Ret.), former Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Army.
This comes amid new concerns the Islamic State is taking control of territory only 5 miles from an Iraqi air base staffed by U.S. Marines.
Military experts, including Garner, agree that this situation is a cause for alarm. “No. 1: They [Iraqi forces] are not well led, No. 2: You can’t tell if there is a lot of motivation there. Do they have a will to fight and win to defend their country?”
The ability to train Iraqi forces to become a viable force against ISIS could become a long-term mission.
“It takes a long time to train an army. You can train soldiers, but when it comes to putting an army together and go into collective training, that’s a very difficult thing – you can’t do that rapidly,” said Garner, the former director of the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for Iraq.
ISIS is thought to have a four-point strategy.
“Expel Americans from Iraq, we did that for them, we left Iraq … second, establish an emirate then expand that to caliphate, third is to attack surrounding countries and pull them into the caliphate, and their fourth priority they have is to eliminate, destroy Israel.” Garner believes the terror group so far reached or nearly achieved these priorities to a degree.
To reverse some of these outcomes, he says, the U.S. and its coalition partners must develop a unified plan or risk further setbacks.
Chris Snyder is a producer for Fox News based in New York. Follow him on twitter: @ChrisSnyderFox.