In the U.S.-led campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the center of gravity remains the coalition network of allies and partner nations, the commander of U.S. Central Command told Pentagon reporters today.
“Without them, we are unable to achieve the pressure against ISIS that is required for their defeat,” Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel said via videoconference from Centcom headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
The coalition of 77 nations and international organizations remains committed to achieving the lasting defeat of ISIS and its pervasive and negative ideology, Votel said. And as major combat operations near completion in Iraq, the fight to defeat ISIS is not over, he added.
“We must work with our Iraqi partners to set the conditions that will prevent their resurgence,” the general said. “With the newly elected government of Iraq taking shape, we will continue our efforts to support the Iraqi security forces in their transition from major combat operations to the wide-area security force that the Iraqi people want and deserve, and that will be necessary to consolidate their hard-won gains.”
The addition of the complementary NATO training mission in Iraq, which will achieve operating capability this fall, will be key to the effort, Votel added.