WASHINGTON - (AFP) - The second leader in the international coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria warned US General Alexus Greenwich on Wednesday that the Islamic State could still return to the rise despite its weakening in the event of the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.
General Greenwich said during a press conference at the Pentagon that ISIS "certainly remains a danger" warning that "it has the ability to emerge again if we remove pressure from it for a long time."
But he made it clear that he did not see a threat to restore the organization’s strength in a timely manner, adding, “but the longer we remove pressure from him, the greater this danger.”
General Greenwich said that the organization revealed its structural weakness through its inability to take advantage of the ongoing demonstrations in Iraq since October to demand political reforms.
He explained that during the past months, the participants in the international alliance assessed the organization’s position after losing in March its lands of control in parts of Syria and Iraq, after battles with the coalition-backed forces that lasted for years.
He said the goal was to find out if the organization was "pursuing some sort of strategy that is waiting for an opportunity that it can seize, or if it is really subject to pressure and lacks capabilities and capabilities."
He added that the demonstrations in Iraq helped the coalition to develop its assessment and concluded that the organization "suffers from a lack of capabilities and capabilities more than it is inherently strategic."
Tensions rose between Washington and Baghdad after the assassination of the commander of the Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, General Qassem Soleimani, and the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Committee, described as the man of Iran in Iraq, with a US strike near Baghdad on January 3.
In an angry response to the US strike, the Iraqi parliament held a session on January 5 in which it voted on the government's mandate to end the presence of foreign forces in the country, including about 5,200 American soldiers.
After Washington took the initiative to stop the joint military operations between the two countries, two American military officials confirmed to the New York Times the resumption of cooperation with the Iraqi army in combating the Islamic State so that the jihadi organization does not take advantage of the status quo.
US President Donald Trump and his Iraqi counterpart, Barham Salih, agreed during a meeting Wednesday in Davos on the need to maintain an American military role in Iraq, as the White House stressed in a statement, without revealing any details about the framework of this cooperation.
General Greenwich commented, stressing that the Iraqi government "has an interest in our ability" that the coalition continue to pressure the organization.