Pentagon Inspector General Claims ISIS Resurgence ‘Likely’ If US Leaves Iraq

Says killing Baghdadi didn't hurt ISIS operations

The Pentagon is very keen to keep troops in Iraq, and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) seems to be supporting that agenda, saying that any pullout from Iraq would “likely” lead to an ISIS resurgence in the country.

This was the conclusion from the OIG quarterly report on Iraq, and was emphasized in the introduction to the report written by Inspector General Glenn Fine. This was apparently the message meant to come out of the report, which is meant to preclude the US withdrawing from Iraq.

US officials have already said they don’t intend to leave Iraq, but the Pentagon may believe they need to double down on this position, since Iraq very clearly wants to get rid of the US forces.

ISIS effectively isn’t even active in Iraq at this point, and that’s something the OIG wants to undercut. To that end. the report also concludes that the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi hasn’t hindered ISIS operations and “has not resulted in any immediate degradation to ISIS’ capabilities.

Since ISIS’s capabilities were already few to none by the time the US got around to killing Baghdadi, it’s perhaps unsurprising that they didn’t change. Talk of an ISIS resurgence is a convenient excuse to not wrap up the ISIS war.

CENTCOM has tried to argue that more work is needed to mean an enduring defeat of ISIS, even though it doesn’t appear to involve any actual fighting, just more open-ended occupations in Iraq and Syria. With no deadline now, after ISIS’s effective defeat, it is doubtful a deadline will ever be offered, and this will just be one more theater of operations for military brass to spar over troop levels.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.