Defense

Clapper doubts Mosul can be retaken from ISIS this year

National Intelligence Director James Clapper said in an interview published Wednesday that he doesn’t see Iraqi forces retaking Mosul from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria during the Obama administration. 

{mosads}“They’ve lost a lot of territory,” he told The Washington Post. “We’re killing a lot of their fighters. We will retake Mosul, but it will take a long time and be very messy. I don’t see that happening in this administration.”

The administration is seeking to aid Iraqi forces in pushing out the terrorist group from Mosul, its Iraqi stronghold, and Raqqa, its stronghold in Syria, before President Obama leaves office. 

Clapper also said the problem of terrorism will persist long after they are defeated in Iraq and Syria. 

“We’ll be in a perpetual state of suppression for a long time,” he warned.

“The U.S. can’t fix it. The fundamental issues they have — the large population bulge of disaffected young males, ungoverned spaces, economic challenges and the availability of weapons — won’t go away for a long time,” he said. 

Clapper also weighed in on a recent Atlantic article wherein Obama expressed pessimism about the U.S. solving problems in the Middle East. 

Clapper agreed, but added, “I don’t think the U.S. can just leave town. Things happen around the world when U.S. leadership is absent. We have to be present — to facilitate, broker and sometimes provide the force.”

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