Pentagon to Extend ‘Defeat ISIS’ Coalition Beyond Syria

Despite talk of ISIS being almost wiped out, Pentagon to maintain large coalition

The Trump Administration has made much of its military defeat of ISIS, portraying the group as virtually wiped out and hyping the victory in Syria to such a point that for a time he was even intending to withdraw from Syria outright.

Having backed away from the Syria pullout, the Pentagon is now hard at work trying to shore up commitments from the 79 members of the anti-ISIS coalition,  Officials insist they need to keep the coalition together to fight wars against ISIS worldwide in the future.

What was originally meant to be a temporary coalition for an “emergency” situation with ISIS is also being portrayed as a very permanent thing now by US officials, with Assistant Secretary of Defense Kathryn Wheelbarger arguing that the coalition needs to stay together to maintain “stability” in general.

She said the war against ISIS would look a lot different now than it has in the past, but that keeping these forces unified for the purposes of intelligence-sharing and training would be needed to keep fighting ISIS.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan says that the battle is “far from complete,” and tried to present not staying in the unified coalition as complacence. Officials sought to emphasize the presence of ISIS affiliates across the world.

And yet while ISIS has a proper affiliate in Afghanistan, with a presence mostly confined to a single province, a lot of the other groups seem to be ISIS in name only, embracing the label as a way to try to gain notoriety.

The presence of so many such factions in so many remote parts of the world is a perfect recipe for a forever coalition, one with increasingly nebulous goals, but which the Pentagon seems to believe they can keep much of the world chained to going forward.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.