US Commander: ISIS Not Resurging in Iraq, US Can Cut Troops

Gen. Ekman predicts 'slow reduction of US forces'

With the US keeping troops in Iraq to prepare for the “resurgence” of ISIS, deputy commander Maj. Gen. Kenneth Ekman says that ISIS simply isn’t resurging, and is significantly diminished. He said this will allow the US to reduce its troop levels, predicting a “slow reduction of US forces.”

This offers flexibility ahead of US talks with Iraq’s government on the future troop levels in the country. Iraq asked the US to leave, and the US refused, citing ISIS. Without the ISIS excuse, troop cuts are almost certainly to be on the table.

This makes the admission that ISIS isn’t recovering surprising, as it’s long been the go-to excuse for the US to keep operations going, and there really aren’t a lot of other pretexts for involvement in Iraq, where the parliament is virtually unanimous in wanting the Americans gone.

The US has a few thousand troops left in Iraq, and probably no drawdown will be announced before negotiations with Iraq. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has implied that troop cuts would also come at the expense of aid to Iraq, so the US may use it as leverage.

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.