US says two more years to eliminate ISIS

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 Despite the setbacks in Iraq and Syria,Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) -the jihadist group still pose a threat to the Middle East and the world .The top US general  LT Gen Stephen Townsend commanding US-led coalition forces argued that it may take as long as two years to eliminate Islamic State group  and its related cells in Iraq and Syria but Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi presented a optimistic picture by stating that the extremist group will be eliminated in three months from Mosul with the help of US coalition forces.

The coalition forces was successful in re-capturing most of the ISIS territory across northern and western Iraq.The recapture of Mosul by Iraqi government in 2017 will be the end of the self-styled caliphate but the cells operating in Iraq and Syria will be capable of fighting guerrilla style insurgency  and also planning and orchestrating attacks across the world.

ANother issue is a new Iraqi law that makes militia forces here legal especially Iranian backed Shiite armed forces.

The coalition operations by Iraqi Army, Kurdistan forces  and Russian air raids in Syria alongwith US support,the jihadist group is trying to find a foothold in Egypt.

 Meanwhile, ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still alive and Pentagon said on December 30,2016 their forces conducted 10 air raids  under Operation Inherent Resolve in IS -controlled parts of Iraq (towns of Qaim,Mosul and Huwayjah) and Syria (towns of Raqqa,Manbij, Abu Kamal,Shadaddi and Palmyra.

The Egyptian President Abdel -Fattah Al Sisi announced his support for the Syrian, Libyan and Iraqi armies combating the so-called “Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham”(ISIS).

ISIS in Egypt

The Egyptian Army is on a mission to expel the remaining Islamic State terrorists  from the Sinai Peninisula.The Islamic State or ISIS was created when US withdrew troops from Iraq leaving a vacuum resulting in the merging of the fringe elements of Saddam Hussein’s Baathist Party as well as residual elements of different ethnic groups that supported Muammer Gaddafi in Libya all of whom continue to work in a loose coordination for the ISIS.

But Egypt had been facing political turmoil since 2011 when anti-government protests against Hosni Mubarak broke out in 2011 and Mohamed Morsi who was in prison became president after his party Muslim Brotherhood won the election.As Morsi was facing charges of espionage  and initiating anti-government protests in 2011.As military chief, current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the public movement to overthrow Morsi in July 2013. The Egyptian government and other Muslim-majority countries declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.

But the highest court in Egypt has quashed the life sentence imposed on the country’s former president, Mohamed Morsi.The deposed president remains in prison on a separate espionage conviction, despite the recent ruling by Egypt’s Court of Cassation.

He is still serving a concurrent 40-year sentence on charges he spied for Qatar, the Persian Gulf nation that supported his administration and also serving a 20-year sentence for alleged involvement in anti-government clashes outside Egypt’s presidential palace in 2012.

The Egyptian Army is now engaged in eliminating ISIS from Sinai Peninsula . There are reports that the leader named Wali has distributed the responsibilities pertaining to security, military affairs, bomb making and media .

Shadi el-Menei is the media spokesperson of the group and a well known Bedouin militant . Menei was originally from Ansar Beit al-Maqdis outfit where after he shifted allegiance to the Islamic State in November 2014.Ansar Beit al-Maqdis outfit  got split from the Mujahidin Shura Council consisting of Jihadist Palestinian militants from the Gaza strip and the local Bedouin veterans that conducted attacks on Israel after Mubarak’s overthrow in 2011.

arti bali

By : Arti Bali Senior Journalist

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