ISIS is thinking about creating a caliphate, and to do that you need a conventional military. Ironically that plays right into our hands…” —Stephen GanyardOn August 31, Avascent’s Colonel Stephen Ganyard (USMC, Ret.) discussed U.S. strategic options in Iraq and Syria with Martha Raddatz and Admiral Robert Harward (USN, Ret.), former deputy commander of US Central Command. Raddatz noted that one third of ISIS (or IS) leadership are former members of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army. Ganyard explained that due to this fact “(ISIS) looks very much…like light infantry, they train, organize and equip very much like a conventional military…If you look at al-Qaeda, they’re focused on the far threat–they’re focused on attacking Western targets, but ISIS is thinking about creating a caliphate, and to do that you need a conventional military. Ironically that plays right into our hands. Our strengths are in surveillance, our strengths are in air power in hitting these very precise targets.” Harward commented that to bolster current Iraqi defense capabilities, the U.S. needs to share intelligence, provide political mentoring and operational support on the ground, while continuing air support. Per addressing ISIS’ Syrian safe haven, Ganyard pointed to air strikes as the viable option du jour, and emphasized that an international coalition needs to address the overall situation in Syria; it’s not just a National Security issue for the United States.
Watch the full interview here.