ISIS in Retreat in Iraq, Maybe, May Be Moving to Unite With Al Qaeda Components in Syria



Last week President Obama said he wanted an authorization for the use of military force against ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, after all. Up to then the White House argued the U.S.-led campaign against ISIS in Iraq and in Syria fell under the authorization for the use of military force against Al Qaeda and its affiliates passed in September, 2001. The president continues to maintain he doesn't need explicit authorization from Congress for the war against ISIS but since the elections are over he thought it was a good time to ask for it anyway.

While the U.S.-led coalition is seeing some successes—the Iraqi army claims to have critically injured Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, and to have driven ISIS out of Beiji, a major oil refinery town—it has also galvanized support for ISIS among the region's population. More fighters than ever before are reportedly going to join ISIS since U.S. airstrikes started. And now, The Daily Beast reports, representatives from Al Nusra, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, ISIS, and the Khorasan group, another Al Qaeda offshoot few people heard of before it was targeted during U.S. airstrikes in Syria, are meeting to discuss re-uniting with the aim of driving more "moderate" U.S.-backed rebels out of Syria, groups whose members nevertheless condemned U.S. airstrikes in Syria, and not just because of the claim that civilians were killed.

After the "thumping" in the 2006 elections, President George W. Bush announced a surge in Iraq, one that ended up being used in part to negotiate the eventual end of the Iraq war. After the 2014 elections, President Obama insisted he heard the American people, following it up a few days later by sending 1,500 more troops to Iraq, who he claims won't be in combat roles.