Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | MidPoint | Iraq | Gary Berntsen

Ex-CIA Operative Berntsen: ISIS Is Not Losing In Iraq

By    |   Wednesday, 04 Feb 2015 04:51 PM

Contrary to a claim from a think-tank scholar writing in The New York Times, the Islamic State (ISIS) is not "Losing in Iraq," as the headline on the article asserts, but is instead "in this game for the long haul" and will require a major ground offensive to root out, says a former CIA station chief.

"They've lost a town here and there, but they still have significant resources," Gary Berntsen, who led the CIA team hunting Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Wednesday.

Story continues below video.

Note: Watch Newsmax TV now on DIRECTV Ch. 349 and DISH Ch. 223
Get Newsmax TV on your cable system – Click Here Now

Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution writes in the Times that American air operations "have inflicted heavy losses" on the would-be rulers of a caliphate intended to straddle Iraq and Syria.

"As a result, the Islamic State is more and more on the defensive," Pollack writes.

Berntsen, author of "Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin-Laden and Al-Qaeda", said that U.S.-led airstrikes have "degraded some of [ISIS's] capacity" in conjunction with local ground forces — more Shiite militias than Iraqi government troops, he noted.

"But think of the Civil War in the United States," said Berntsen. "How many battles were required? How long did that fight go on for? How many were required to die before that war moved in one direction to the other?

"It's going to require a serious force on the ground," said Bentsen, "with a large [military] coalition, with special operators from the U.S., and [Central Intelligence] Agency people from the U.S., all together, to get there and beat them back, because they're not losing steam."

Berntsen reserved judgement on Pollack's other key claim, that U.S.-trained Iraqi government troops will be fully ready within months to lead the fight against the Islamic State.

"We'll see," said Berntsen. "Up to this point, the group that's been most effective fighting on the ground there has been Shiite militias, led by the Iranians. That's the real truth. It hasn't been the Iraqi army."

Berntsen also discussed Jordan's retaliatory execution of two jihadist prisoners, following the Islamic State's release of a video in which a captured Jordanian fighter pilot is burned alive.

The executions in Jordan were largely political, said Berntsen, because Jordanians wanted vengeance and King Abdullah "had to give them something immediately."

"ISIS doesn't lose anything on that," he said of the executions.

But the graphic video could spur greater anti-ISIS sentiment among tribal groups in Jordan, said Berntsen, and a greater willingness by Jordanians to engage in direct combat against the Islamic State.

"They're not going away on their own," Berntsen said of ISIS, "and they're not going away because they make missteps. They're going to have to be beaten on the battlefield."

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Newsmax-Tv
Contrary to a claim from a scholar writing in The New York Times, the Islamic State is not "Losing in Iraq," as the headline on the article asserts, but is instead "in this game for the long haul" and will require a major ground offensive to root out, says a former CIA station chief.
Iraq, Gary Berntsen
474
2015-51-04
Wednesday, 04 Feb 2015 04:51 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved