ISIS does everything it can to make its attacks and successes public. Putting on a show, after all, is a huge part of its global campaign of fear.
Meanwhile, US special ops are quietly avenging the devastating bombings in Paris and Brussels, and Navy SEALs and Delta Force have crippled the organization’s ability to recruit foreign fighters.
As reported by Department of Defense officials, special forces have killed those “external operations leaders, planners, and facilitators” accused of plotting the deadly attacks in Europe. So far, they have located and assassinated 40 individuals.
Those 40, however, represent less than half of the high-value targets our coalition forces have killed. Top leader and alleged Islamic State second-in-command Haji Imam was assassinated in March.
The use of special ops forces in kill or capture raids is a huge part of Obama’s counterterrorism plan against ISIS. The mission also focuses on curtailing and inhibiting the Islamic State’s ability to recruit abroad and carry out Brussels-style attacks. As President Obama announced in Germany last month, he has deployed 250 additional special operators to Syria to support these missions, which so far have been incredibly successful.
As reported by Pentagon officials in April, the influx of new ISIS recruits is down 90% from 2015 and ISIS’ overall fighting force, which was estimated at 33,000 last year, has has dwindled to between 19,000 and 25,000. It’s “hard to be accurate” admits Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, but recruitment is definitely falling.
Still, ISIS’ external ops have murdered 1,000 people throughout numerous countries since 2015. Jim Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, warns that ISIS cells are already in place throughout the EU.
The special ops counterterrorism mission is in good hands. Spearheading the effort is the US JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command). Our current JSCO commander, General Austin S. Miller, ran special ops in Afghanistan with great success.
JSOC raiders typically work in secret, but this time we are using a mix of special ops from several disciplines including Navy SEALs, Delta Force, and Green Berets. “The teams are integrated in just about everything we do,” said one defense official.