As ISIS gains continue to mount both in Syria and Iraq, the White House has reiterated its belief that the war on ISIS is “succeeding,” with White House spokesman Josh Earnest citing the evacuation of Mount Sinjar as proof.
Which is noteworthy primarily because no evacuation ever happened there. Though Mount Sinjar was presented as the initial casus belli for the ISIS war, US troops found almost no Yazidis on the mountain, and what few went up there during the ISIS offensive were already rescued by the PKK.
Presenting the war as working, in spite of the obvious expansion of ISIS territory is politically risky, but officials are also saying they believe presenting the war as working for the sake of recruiting coalition members and convincing them to be on board to do things.
Officials continue to emphasize that the war is going to be “long-term,” though they are extremely vague about their near and medium-term goals, with President Obama’s only clear guidance being that the airstrikes will “continue” against ISIS, something that is likely to be the case for years to come.
In the near-term there are a lot of pushes for escalation on a lot of different fronts, though officials continue to be unclear about which, if any, are actually being seriously considered.