ISIS, al Qaeda have significant losses in many areas, but still a problem in Yemen

Bill Gertz:
Most of the 16 regional branches or affiliates of the Islamic State and al Qaeda terrorist groups have been suppressed, contained, or placed under pressure from global counterterrorism efforts, according to the U.S. Special Operations Command.

"There's been a lot of losses," said a command official, who along with several others recently briefed reporters on the global footprint of the two Salafist-jihadist groups.

As of October, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria had begun transitioning from a pseudo-state entity to an Islamist insurgency, according to the briefing.

Disclosure of the fate of the two terror groups that have been a major focus of U.S. military and intelligence operations for 16 years comes as Iraqi forces last week captured the border town of Rawa—the last town under IS control in Iraq.

The takeover of Rawa is being hailed by some counterterrorism experts as an important step in disbanding the so-called ISIS caliphate declared in 2014.

Socom officials said ISIS will likely produce a "shadow caliphate" by attempting to preserve a cadre of terror leaders who can direct insurgent operations.

However, officials said significant progress has been made against ISIS since the group emerged to take over large portions of Syria and Iraq in 2014.

Under President Donald Trump, the military and CIA have stepped up bombing raids, commando operations, and drone strikes against terrorists as part of a tougher policy.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said there are concerns the pressure placed on the terrorists in Syria and Iraq will create a flow of terrorists out of the region and back to Europe and the United States.

"We're very worried about where those folks go," Pompeo said in July. "It's the reason I think the administration chose to just kill as many of them as they could. That is, fewer folks leaving the [area of operations] creates fewer trackable items for the U.S. intelligence community. And so we're hopeful they will be very, very successful and the risk will be lower."

Intelligence and security agencies will be focusing on tracking terrorists with European passports that will have visa-free access to the United States, he said.
There is much more.

There are still elements of Islamic terrorist groups in Libya, Yemen, and Central Africa as the operation in Niger makes clear.  Al Qaeda is also under pressure in its remaining lairs.  IS was largely defeated by the US and its allies using an annihilation strategy that gave teh enemy few options to escape and carry out terror attacks elsewhere.  One of the keys was Trump's unleashing the US military to attack and destroy ISIS without the micromanagement that characterized Obama's operations.


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