Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 9, 2016

State Department Official: ISIS Now ‘a Full-Blown Army’

KHAZAIR, IRAQ -- Iraqi families who fled recent fighting near the city of Mosul prepare to sleep on the ground as they try to enter a temporary displacement camp but are blocked by Kurdish soldiers on July 3. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

KHAZAIR, IRAQ — Iraqi families who fled recent fighting vs. ISIS near the city of Mosul prepare to sleep on the ground as they try to enter a temporary displacement camp but are blocked by Kurdish soldiers on July 3. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A State official offered a dire assessment Wednesday about the growing power of the group in Iraq that calls itself the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL): “It’s no longer a terrorist group,” said the department’s deputy assistant secretary of State for Iraq and Iran in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. “It’s a full-blown army.”

Given that, asked the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, why didn’t the United States conduct drone strikes earlier?

“Americans have spent enough blood and treasure in Iraq,” Ed Royce, R-Calif. said at a hearing of his panel. “And that is exactly why the administration should have taken the opportunity to inflict decisive damage on ISIS from the air through drone strikes while its fighters were encamped in the desert months ago.”

The State Department’s Brett McGurk said that the formal request for drone strikes only came in May, and that contrary to what Royce said, “It never went up and was denied. It is still under consideration.” That answer didn’t sit well with Royce, who pointed to discussions well before then, including by embassy officials and other countries, about the need for drone strikes.

McGurk said the overall policy has been to “enable local actors to secure their sovereign space.” The key now, he said, must be to isolate ISIS from the Iraqi population and establish a “functioning federalism” in their government.

There wasn’t much confidence on the panel that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is the man who can do the job. Reps. Eliot L. Engel, a Democrat from New York, and Ted Poe, a Republican from Texas, both said he needed to go, and the “sooner the better.”

Comments (13)

  1. Carroll Barber

    July 24, 2014
    3:04 p.m.

    We’ve seen this movie before, we know the ending!!!! :(

  2. Anonymous

    July 12, 2015
    1:08 p.m.

    Have you ever considered creating an e-book or guest authoring on other sites? I have a blog based on the same subjects you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would appreciate your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.

  3. Anonymous

    July 18, 2015
    4:18 a.m.

    I haven’t checked in here for some time since I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I will add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)

  4. Anonymous

    July 21, 2015
    5:38 a.m.

    I got what you mean ,saved to my bookmarks, very nice site.

  5. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    7:35 a.m.

    I’ll right away grab your rss as I can’t find your e-mail subscription link or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please let me know in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  6. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    7:15 p.m.

    Keep up the superb work, I read few blog posts on this site and I conceive that your website is real interesting and has circles of wonderful information.

  7. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    7:13 p.m.

    I am not rattling good with English but I come up this rattling easygoing to translate.

  8. Anonymous

    July 28, 2015
    7:32 a.m.

    With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My site has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any ways to help protect against content from being ripped off? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  9. Anonymous

    July 30, 2015
    6:36 p.m.

    I have read several excellent stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much attempt you set to make any such wonderful informative site.

  10. Anonymous

    July 31, 2015
    3:55 p.m.

    Nice blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  11. Anonymous

    Aug. 2, 2015
    4:36 p.m.

    Would you be curious about exchanging hyperlinks?

  12. Anonymous

    Aug. 3, 2015
    6:21 p.m.

    55UuWN Perfect work you have done, this site is really cool with wonderful information.

  13. Anonymous

    Aug. 9, 2015
    6:37 p.m.

    I really wanted to send a quick message to be able to appreciate you for some of the awesome tips and tricks you are placing at this site. My particularly long internet research has finally been honored with professional facts and strategies to exchange with my partners. I ‘d assert that many of us visitors are definitely fortunate to be in a fabulous place with so many lovely individuals with interesting techniques. I feel extremely fortunate to have used the web site and look forward to tons of more thrilling times reading here. Thank you again for everything.

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...