In our last report on what’s really happening in the Middle East, I shared with you the current threat of ISIS and how they are STILL a global threat that our current U.S. administration has been avoiding and pushing to the side.
But while most of the conflicts happening in the Middle East aren’t showing up in mainstream media, there are brave men and women who are in the trenches, fighting right now for the good of humanity. Today, I want to introduce you to those people.
In my last report, you heard a little bit about the CJTF-OIR (Combined Joint Forces- Operation Inherent Resolve). Today, I’ll tell you more about their history and current initiatives. But I first want to highlight some allies you may not know about — the men and women of the YPG and YPJ.
The YPG Fighting Force
The Kurdish forces fighting against ISIS are led by the YPG (People’s Protection Units). These are the home-grown defense forces of the Kurdish area.
The men and women in the YPG fighting force come from local communities and are mostly Kurdish. But the YPG also fights alongside non-Kurdish soldiers including Syrian, Assyrian and Armenian Christians. There are also a small number of Americans and Europeans who’ve volunteered to join them in the fight against ISIS.
The YPG operates like a guerrilla force using stealth, surprise and hit-and-run tactics. This has been effective against more conventional forces who invade and occupy. They are able to adapt quickly to battlefield conditions and mobilize their forces rapidly.
The YPG has aligned itself with other forces against ISIS such as the Free Syrian Army and Peshmerga in Iraq. Their goal is to free the Yazidi community in Sinjar and provide security through Syria to Turkey for refugees fleeing ISIS forces. Some of these partnerships are historically tenuous, but these parties are putting their differences aside to fight the more important battle against a brutal force.
But as the conflict subsides, the differences will arise again. It’s very much a liquid situation that is evolving, and no one really knows what the future holds.
The battle is far from over. But it appears the YPG and its all-female brigade, the YPJ, are capable with appropriate support of being a force to be reckoned with in the battle with ISIS for the Middle East.
MG Brennan flatly stated to us that the YPG are fighting ISIS, largely single-handedly. “On behalf of the world.”
CJTF- OIR & a timeline on their fight against ISIS
Another trip highlight was visiting U.S. troops in Erbil and Baghdad. The current commander of U.S. Forces, Major General John Brennan, is an old friend. He’s now the commander of CJTF- OIR.
The name Inherent Resolve reflects the unwavering commitment of the U.S. and partner nations to eliminate the terrorist group ISIS and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria and the wider international community.
It also symbolizes the willingness of coalition members to work closely with our friends there. They’re dedicated to applying diplomatic, informational, military and economic power to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS.
Most of America has forgotten about ISIS and Al Qaida, but I can assure you that both organizations are alive and well.
They’re waiting for an opportunity to exert their will again. A handful of American and Kurdish forces (the YPG) in Iraq and Syria are directly confronting ISIS every day, holding them at bay.
Meanwhile, the CJTF-OIR motto is that they Advise, Assist and Enable partnered forces until they can independently defeat Daesh in designated areas of Iraq and Syria, to set conditions for long-term security cooperation frameworks.
CJTF-OIR is in Iraq and Syria to support the Government of Iraq and our Syrian partners as they secure the enduring defeat of Daesh. CJTF-OIR is the military component of a Global Coalition of 77 nations and 5 international organizations, who remain committed to the enduring defeat of Daesh in Iraq and Syria. CJTF-OIR is operating in Iraq at the request of the Government of Iraq and in Syria in support of lasting political settlement based on UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
This is truly a conflict of one mission, many nations.
This is reflected in the seal they have created.
The swords and olive branch indicate the dual nature of the Coalition – the defeat of ISIS and the restoration of stability to the region. The seven leaves of the olive branch represent the seven peoples of Iraq: Sunni, Shia, Kurdish, Turkmen, Assyrian, Yazidi and Armenian. The colors used are a reflection of military assets – brown and green for land components, blue for air and naval. The three stars indicate the command, while the color gold represents the quality of excellence performed by the command in the nation’s defense.
Going Back to Look Forward
I’d like to give you a brief history lesson that led up to the current events we are seeing now.
By June 2014, the security situation in Iraq had deteriorated and Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit fell to ISIS control and large areas of western Iraq fell, including Sinjar. CJTF- OIR mounted defensive and offensive operations that rapidly matured with the rescue of innocent Yazidi victims trapped on Sinjar Mountain, the recapture of the Mosul and Haditha dams, and the defense of Baghdad and Kirkuk.
This month, ATP connected with a young girl that was kidnapped and enslaved by ISIS during the destruction of Sinjar. She escaped her captor after 7 years of sexual slavery and is now in our care. CJTF-OIR vigorously increased pressure on ISIS and shaped the battlefield for the liberation of terrain from ISIS control, targeting ISIS leadership and infrastructure. Deliberate and dynamic precision airstrikes targeted ISIS economic infrastructure, significantly degrading its ability to govern. CJTF-OIR transitioned from Phase I to Phase II by the end of 2015. During the fighting of 2015, America lost one of its true heroes, Joshua Wheeler. He was a friend of mine and died leading the charge. You can read more about his heroics and the subsequent Medal of Honor that was awarded to Pat Payne, one of Josh’s men.
During Phase II, Counterattack, CJTF-OIR supported ISF and partnered forces in Syria as they attacked to liberate territory and people under the control of Da’esh. In August 2016, CJTF- OIR began the ground battle to reclaim Mosul.
ATP was part of this offensive and we continue to support the women, children, and families we recovered during the ground fighting.
From 2016 to 2018, CJTF- OIR pressed the fight, chasing ISIS back into Syria and returning all of the territories back to Iraqi sovereign rule.
April 2018 was the end of major combat in Iraq. Spring of 2019 marked the end of ISIS control of any physical territory, ending a five-year fight. ISIS was reduced to an underground organization and its aspirations for a global caliphate were laid to rest, as Daesh was militarily defeated. Some of these incredible successes included killing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani. Much of this success went unreported because it happened under the heavily maligned Trump administration.
Baghdadi was the leader of and the self-proclaimed caliph of ISIS. Baghdadi was an absolute monster that was as evil as any man that ever walked the earth. The operation he was killed in was named Operation Kayla Mueller because he had captured Kayla, an American aid worker, enslaved her, abused her and ultimately murdered her. His death was payback.
Suleimani rivaled Baghdadi for his evil but was a much more sophisticated and in many ways more dangerous enemy. He was protected by the Iranian government. Suleimani had more American soldier blood on his hands than anyone else living at the time of his death. Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani led the powerful Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. He was killed along with several officials from Iraqi militias backed by Tehran when an American MQ-9 Reaper drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the Baghdad airport.
Suleimani was the architect of nearly every significant operation by Iranian intelligence and military forces over the past two decades, and his death was a staggering blow for Iran at a time of sweeping geopolitical conflict.
Once again, because this event happened under the Trump administration, the media portrayed it as a reckless blunder. It wasn’t. Suleimani’s death was not only payback … it was necessary. His death is part of the continuing conflict between the US and Iran that continues below the surface of other world news.
Now today, the current phase for CJTF-OIR is Support Stabilization, where they provide security, planning, and any required support to the Government of Iraq and appropriate authorities in Syria to support Iraq in defeating Da’esh operations.
The CJTF- OIR mission is focused on defeating ISIS / Daesh but the greatest threat to U.S. troops is Iran and its proxy forces that continue to attack us.
In my next report, we’ll dive into how Iran has grown as a threat and the plan of action that is needed next.
As always, be sure to subscribe to our Daily Intelligence Brief for updated daily information on what is happening that our media won’t show you.
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