Centcom officials are saying they’re increasingly “encouraged” by the way the US war against ISIS is going in Iraq and Syria, particularly with the Iraqi military’s attempts to recover after repeated defeats at the hands of ISIS throughout the year.
That said, they concede that the attempts to retake anything significant, like the major northern city of Mosul, are a long, long way off, with the Pentagon saying it would be conservatively a year before Iraq was ready to even attempt such an operation.
That makes military attempts to spin the current situation as progress even more difficult, as in practice Iraq is continuing to lose more territory than they’re gaining back from ISIS, and the admissions are that this isn’t going to change at any foreseeable point going forward.
Saying “at least a year” is, in practical terms, the same as saying they have no clue when the momentum is going to start shifting away from ISIS. Politicians want to hear that it’s going to get better, and the Pentagon seems willing to say that, so long as the timetable is vague and open-ended.