The Islamic State is no longer even a pseudo-State, having lost over 98 percent of its territory since its peak. The territory they do control aren’t the populous cities they once held, but merely the rubble that remains. While 2.5 million people lived under ISIS oppression in 2017, nearly all have since been liberated.
The group’s propaganda infrastructure has all been destroyed too, leading to a massive decline in output. ISIS‘ slick propaganda, which often looked like it was something straight out of a Hollywood production, was a major recruitment tool when it came to drawing in foreign jihadis. The group’s propaganda used to focus on the “paradise” of living within the Islamic State. Now the propaganda they do produce consists mainly of war footage (which is a hard sell for new recruits, given their abject decimation).
And now, the group is suffering some serious leadership decapitation.
According to the New York Times:
Five senior Islamic State officials have been captured, including a top aide to the group’s leader, in a complex cross-border sting carried out by Iraqi and American intelligence, two Iraqi officials said Wednesday.
The three-month operation, which tracked a group of senior Islamic State leaders who had been hiding in Syria and Turkey, represents a significant intelligence victory for the American-led coalition fighting the extremist group and underscores the strengthening relationship between Washington and Baghdad.
Two Iraqi intelligence officials said those captured included four Iraqis and one Syrian whose responsibilities included governing the Islamic State’s territory around Deir al-Zour, Syria, directing internal security and running the administrative body that oversees religious rulings.
President Trump also tweeted out the news:
Five Most Wanted leaders of ISIS just captured!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2018
What a difference one administration can make. Obama traded five terrorists for Bowe Bergdahl. Meanwhile, Trump just secured the release of three Americans and captured five terrorists.
That sounds like a lot of winning to me.
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