House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, returned from a trip to Afghanistan and Iraq optimistic about progress in the fight against the Islamic State. Syria, however, still is in dire shape, Thornberry told members of the news media. He praised Iraqi troops for liberating the Iraqi city of Fallujah and was encouraged by plans to do the same with Mosul, the country’s second-largest metropolis. But he voiced concerns about the future, once those missions are complete. “They can take the ground, but how do they hold it?” he told Air Force Magazine on July 26.