Pentagon IG Warns of ISIS Resurgence in Syria and Iraq

August 12, 2019 The U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General issued a blistering report to Congress last week on the Islamic State or ISIS resurgence in Syria and Iraq, with approximately 14,000 to 18,000 militants. 



The Pentagon report specifically referenced U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to rapidly draw down troops in Syria and pull diplomatic staff from Iraq for creating the instability that lead to the resurgence.

The Inspector General’s report findings also attributed limited personnel, equipment, and intelligence to confront resurgent cells that ISIS fighters established in the northeast for the resurgent in Syria this quarter. ISIS was also able to operate as a resurgence in Iraq and Syria in part because the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) remain unable to sustain long-term operations against ISIS fighters.


The Pentagon Lead IG agencies are required by law to provide quarterly reports to Congress on designated overseas contingency operations. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Inspector General was designated the Lead IG for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). The U.S. Department of State (DoS) Inspector General is the designated Associate IG for OIR.  The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Inspector General participates in oversight for the operation.

U.S. Marine Killed in Iraq

A U. S. Marine was killed over the weekend —just days after the Pentagon report was released, while advising an Iraqi Security Force mission in Ninewah Province — in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

In a statement on Sunday, the U.S. Department of Defense identified the U.S. Marine killed in combat in Iraq Saturday as Gunnery Sgt. Scott A. Koppenhafer, 35 from Colorado. Sergeant Koppenhafer died after being engaged by enemy small arms fire. 

“Koppenhafer was assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Marine Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina,” defense officials said. His death “is under investigation.”

Critics called U.S. President Donald Trump’s sudden declaration of victory over the Islamic State or ISIS in December reckless and dangerous. The move sparked surprise and outrage from his party’s lawmakers and contradicted his own experts’ assessments.

Jennifer Cafarella, a Syria expert at the Institute for the Study of War warned that the American withdrawal from eastern Syria “will create a power vacuum that will lead to a new phase of international conflict in Syria.”

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