Despite victories on every front against Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, it could take “years, if not decades” before Iraqi police and military assets would be able to assume the main security mission of the region, the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office believes.
The Islamic State has lost all territory it held in Iraq and retains only one percent of that in Syria as a result of Operation Inherent Resolve – the mission’s name – the IG stated in a Nov. 5 report to Congress. Nevertheless, gains on the battlefield must be weighed against a complicated scenario that has emerged. Islamic state fighters have moved underground. Iran is playing a key role in fostering the violent civil war now raging in Syria.
These factors raise “questions about the duration of U.S. troops in Syria,” the IG wrote.
The report noted that the State Department has allocated $230 million in funding for Syria stabilization in fiscal year 2019, which began Oct. 1 and ends next Sept. 30.
Meanwhile, IG agencies have uncovered numerous instances of criminal activity during its audits, evaluations and inspections – to include fraud, conspiracy to commit export violations, and diversion of humanitarian assistance.