When It Comes To Defeating ISIS, Special Operations Forces Are Not Enough

President Barack Obama’s decision on Oct. 31 to send up to 50 special operators to Syria marks a significant escalation … Continued

When It Comes To Defeating ISIS, Special Operations Forces Are Not Enough

President Barack Obama’s decision on Oct. 31 to send up to 50 special operators to Syria marks a significant escalation in the campaign against the Islamic State, but it may not be enough.

Mike Rogers of CNN explains how the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command employed special operations forces to great effect in Iraq in the mid 2000s. The reason for this, argues Rogers, is that special operations forces and their commanders had the full support of the Iraqi government; the U.S. controlled the battlespace where they operated; and there was sizeable local support for the mission.

However, in Syria, none of these conditions exist. Special operations forces would be conducting missions in contested space and while there’s significant resentment toward the Islamic State and the Assad regime, that’s not the same as support for the U.S. mission.

James Clark

James Clarkis the Deputy Editor of Task & Purpose and a Marine veteran. He oversees daily editorial operations, edits articles, and supports reporters so they can continue to write the impactful stories that matter to our audience. In terms of writing, James provides a mix of pop culture commentary and in-depth analysis of issues facing the military and veterans community. Contact the author here.

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