Though the official US narrative remains that the US is inflicting massive losses on ISIS in its airstrikes, and its involvement in ground wars in both Iraq and Syria, CIA Chief John Brennan today warned the Senate Intelligence Committee that they remain as capable of launching attacks abroad as ever, and their ability to expand into new territories is still intact.
Brennan described ISIS as a “formidable, resilient, and largely cohesive army,” and predicted that they would continue to adjust tactics to work around the US attacks against them, despite once again talking up the idea that the US had “squeezed” its operations.
Brennan’s comments largely mirror those of UN Undersecretary-General Jeffrey Feltman last week, when he warned that the “setbacks” ISIS is suffering on the ground a4ren’t significantly weakening them, and that they’ve diversified their revenue sources to limit the impact of US strikes on their oil infrastructure.
ISIS’ ability to adapt its tactics in the past, oftentimes shifting its forces around on the frontlines to make small territorial losses significant tactical gains. This has been particularly effective as most of ISIS’ enemies have underestimated its adaptability in the past, and with Brennan’s comments being couched in the underlying conceit of the US winning so much it’s making ISIS “desperate,” that may be continuing.