It’s Friday, February 14. In today’s newsletter: An inconvenient truth—about the return of ISIS. Plus: Berniebros vs. Berniephobes.
Members of our politics team are out on the campaign trail this weekend. This newsletter will return on Tuesday, after President’s Day, with the latest on 2020.
« TODAY IN POLITICS »
(ALI HASHISHO / REUTERS)
“ISIS is still very much intact.”
The prime minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, who’s had a front-row seat to the war against ISIS, has that warning for America: The militant group may have lost its caliphate, its leader, and many of its fighters, but it’s still managed to gain more experience and recruit new followers, Mike Giglio and Kathy Gilsinan report:
Meanwhile, more than five years into the U.S.-led war—and after many statements by Trump heralding the Islamic State’s defeat—the group still has some 20,000 fighters across Iraq and Syria, Barzani told us. (A Pentagon report last summer put the number of ISIS fighters between 14,000 and 18,000. Estimates by analysts and U.S. officials put the number around 10,000 when it announced its caliphate in the summer of 2014.) ISIS is still managing to carry out 60 attacks a month in Iraq alone against security forces and local rivals, Barzani said, as it regroups around a core of hardened fighters.
The inconvenient truth is that the group is even bigger now, and America’s current conflict with Iran isn’t helping.