For ISIS, the writing has been on the wall for quite some time. Once called the “jayvee team” by former President Obama, ISIS eventually rose to become the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world. However, more recent developments under the Trump administration have quickly led to the demise of the Islamic State.
Under President Obama, the U.S. had virtually no coherent strategy for dealing with ISIS. On the campaign, Trump made clear that the status quo wasn’t enough. Shortly after taking office, Trump made good on that promise by finally taking the fight to the enemy.
In response to an ISIS attack that killed a U.S. Green Beret, Trump authorized the first ever use of the MOAB bomb, destroying an entire system of terrorist tunnels while killing close to 100 fighters. From there, U.S. backed fighters retook the Iraqi city of Mosul, forcing ISIS fighters to retreat into Syria.
Thankfully, the war against ISIS took an even more favorable turn over the last few days. Despite claims their fighters would choose death over capitulation, more than 1,000 Islamic State fighters have surrendered since last Sunday.
From the New York Times:
The prisoners were taken to a waiting room in groups of four, and were told to stand facing the concrete wall, their noses almost touching it, their hands bound behind their backs.
More than a thousand Islamic State fighters passed through that room this past week after they fled their crumbling Iraqi stronghold of Hawija. Instead of the martyrdom they had boasted was their only acceptable fate, they had voluntarily ended up here in the interrogation center of the Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq.
For an extremist group that has made its reputation on its ferociousness, with fighters who would always choose suicide over surrender, the fall of Hawija has been a notable turning point. The group has suffered a string of humiliating defeats in Iraq and Syria, but the number of its shock troops who turned themselves in to Kurdish officials at the center in Dibis was unusually large, more than 1,000 since last Sunday.
The surrenders are a sudden departure from the norm for ISIS:
The fight for Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, took nine months, and by comparison, relatively few Islamic State fighters surrendered. Tal Afar fell next, and more quickly, in only 11 days. Some 500 fighters surrendered there.
With coalition forces surrounding the ISIS capital of Raqqa, the fight against ISIS could be reaching its final stages. If the surrender of over 1,000 fighters is any indication, ISIS seems to realize the end is near.
[Note: This post was authored by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]