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Islamic State Aims for Comeback Amid Virus-Expedited U.S. Withdrawal

Added 04-06-20 05:34:02pm EST - “Iraqis fear their country will become a new battleground between ISIS and Iran-backed militias.” - Foreignpolicy.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Foreignpolicy.com: “Islamic State Aims for Comeback Amid Virus-Expedited U.S. Withdrawal”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

The region’s economic and political systems were already under strain. In 2020, the virus may push them to a breaking point.

The country’s medical infrastructure is notoriously underfunded. Doctors say it will buckle under the coronavirus.

Dispatch: Islamic State Aims for Comeback Amid Virus-Expedited U.S. Withdrawal Islamic State Aims for Comeback Amid Virus...

AIN AL-ASAD AIRBASE, Iraq—Inside an operational command room at Ain al-Asad air base, which is lined with maps of past missions against the Islamic State, three American radio operators stand at their desks. In past months, they provided intelligence and helped coordinate their Iraqi counterparts’ operations against Islamic State cells within large swaths of the Iraqi desert in Anbar province. But since U.S. drones killed Iranian military commander Qassem Suleimani and his ally Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in early January, there has been a pause as the withdrawing Americans focus on protecting their own troops.

Now the area the Americans are surveying has shrunk down to a fraction of its previous size, leaving large portions of the desert unmonitored. Lt. Col. Tim Garland, a U.S. officer who works directly in anti-Islamic State operations from Ain al-Asad, told Foreign Policy that if they had once surveyed an area the size of Texas, now they were looking at a sliver of that the size of Dallas.

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