Secretary of State John Kerry said today not to worry, we’ll probably get Ramadi back from ISIS.
ISIS took the city 80 miles east of Baghdad on Sunday despite a campaign of coalition airstrikes.
Kerry said at a joint press conference with South Korea’s foreign minister today that the administration has “always said from day one that the campaign against Daesh is a long one.”
“It’s going to take a long time. We’ve always said that. And particularly in Anbar, where you don’t yet have the presence of the Iraqi Security Forces in the full numbers necessary to take the fight to Daesh everywhere yet — I underscore yet — there are targets of opportunity like or somewhere else where Daesh has the ability to inflict great damage,” he said. “Notice what they’ve done. They’ve destroyed. They’ve sent in huge numbers of vehicle-borne IEDs, big trucks, massive amounts of explosion, and they’ve destroyed the place. That’s hardly a future.”
ISIS reportedly seized an untold amount of U.S. military equipment when it overran the Iraqi 8th Army Brigade in Ramadi.
“And I am convinced that as the forces are redeployed and as the days flow in the weeks ahead, that’s going to change, because overall in Iraq, Daesh has been driven back,” Kerry claimed. “As much as 30 to 30-plus percent of the area they once controlled they no longer control.”
As government struggle to keep with up ISIS’ domination of the social media sphere, Kerry added “their communications have been reduced, their funding and financial mechanisms have been reduced, and their movements by and large, and most certainly where there are air patrols and other capacities, have been reduced.”
“But that’s not everywhere,” he then admitted. “And so it is possible to have the kind of attack we’ve seen in , but I am absolutely confident in the days ahead that will be reversed. Large numbers of Daesh were killed in the last few days and will be in the next days, because that seems to be the only thing they understand. There is no negotiation. There is no proposal whatsoever to educate a child or build a school or a hospital or do something positive. And I think the people of Iraq and the people of the region understand that, which is why every single country in the region, bar none, is opposed to Daesh and is engaged in fighting them.”
Kerry added that he’s “confident about the longer road.”
“But yes, there will be moments like yesterday in Ramadi and there will be some difficult challenges ahead,” he added. “Part of the challenge is also dealing with Anbar and the tribes, which need more resources, more training, more initial cover from the Iraq Security Forces. And that will be, I am sure, the subject of much conversation over the course of the next few days.”