Top US official: There is no exit strategy for the war against ISIS

General AllenScreenshot/www.cGeneral Allen speaking at the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

A top US military official has told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the US has no real end-game strategy for the ongoing fight against ISIS in Iraq.

General John R. Allen, a special presidential envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, told the Foreign Affairs Committee that “there’s no exit strategy” for dealing with ISIS in response to questions from Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL).

Grayson had asked Allen about what the military’s ultimate exit strategy was in ending the ongoing US-led operation against ISIS in Iraq.

Allen spoke in generalities about the operation’s preferred end-state, telling Grayson that the exit strategy is “an Iraq that ultimately is territorially secure, sovereign. An ISIL that has been denied safe haven, ultimately has been disrupted to the point where it has no capacity to threaten at an existential level the government of Iraq and the nation of the Iraqi people, and ultimately ends up in a state that does not permit it to threaten the United States or our homeland.”

Grayson countered and told Allen that “that doesn’t sound like a strategy to me. That sounds like a wish list.”

Allen reiterated that the overall strategy of the US was the ultimate destruction of ISIS pursued through several lines of effort including the stabilisation of the Iraqi government, the disruption of ISIS’ finances, and the empowerment of local allies.

“But none of those are exit strategies,” Grayson said.

“There’s no exit strategy for this. This is about dealing with Daesh,” Allen responded using the Arabic acronym for ISIS that the militants find offensive. “This is about defeating Daesh. The success of the strategy is not about exit, the success of the strategy is about empowering our partners so they can ultimately restore the territorial integrity and sovereignty of a country and deny Daesh the ability ultimately to do that.”

The US has been carrying out airstrikes along with its coalition partners as part of Operation Inherent Resolve since August 2014. Additionally, the US has deployed over 2,500 Marines and military personnel to help train the Iraqi military and coordinate airstrikes.

You can view the entire exchange between Allen and Grayson below.

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