U.S. military commanders have warned that once the Islamic State is defeated in Iraq and Syria, the terrorist group is likely to morph into an insurgency. But a senior U.S. commander in Baghdad said that has not happened yet in Iraq.
Pockets of ISIS fighters remain in Iraq, but Brig. Gen. James Glynn, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, says those remaining fighters have been cornered and unable to coordinate attacks.
“There are still remnants of ISIS who reside in a cellular structure who seek to bring instability to local areas, in particular population centers," Glynn told reporters at a Pentagon teleconference from Baghdad. He added that they are isolated by Iraqi Security Forces.
“This did not allow those elements to form into a network or something that could look like an insurgency,” he said.
On Monday, a pair of suicide bombers killed more than 30 people in Baghdad in the first major attack in the capital since Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State in December.
But Glynn insisted that does not mean ISIS leaders are able to direct attacks in a coordinated fashion.
“There's no indicator of any coordination. It's merely a matter of disparate cellular structures trying to have some legitimacy, some recognition. And frankly, to be, at this point, to be disruptive,” Glynn said.
“I think that's what you saw in the double suicide vest attack in Baghdad, which is a disruptive act on the behalf of an organization focused on violence,” he added.
Glynn said the remnants of ISIS who have been isolated “face some pretty dire choices” to either fight to the death or try to escape to another area.
“What Iraq and their very capable security forces are focused on is ensuring that that doesn't happen,” Glynn said. “To lock them down where they are and to give them no alternatives but to be captured or killed.”