While Mr. Maier’s backers expressed dismay at the way he was sacked – summoned by a White House liaison officer to the Pentagon on Monday and tasked with cleaning up that day – they also criticized the news. Department of Defense leadership for playing on Mr. Trump’s excessive optimism. assessment of the status of the Islamic State. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.
When Miller announced last month that the United States would cut to 2,500 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan by January 15, he sounded the death knell for the demise of Islamic State. “Thanks to our more than 80 Defeat-ISIS coalition partners, we have destroyed the ISIS caliphate and we will ensure that they never regain their foothold to attack our people,” Miller said in a statement. speech of November 17.
But two months earlier, at the end of September, while still in his former position as director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Miller made a more disappointing note when testifying before a House committee: “ISIS has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to bounce back from severe losses over the past six years by relying on a dedicated cadre of veteran mid-level commanders, extensive underground networks, and a decrease in TC pressure to persevere », Referring to the anti-terrorist pressure.
Other counterterrorism officials believe that the Islamic State, although it has lost territorial control in Iraq and Syria, still has up to 10,000 guerrillas there and maintains resilient affiliates in South Africa. ‘East and West and Afghanistan.
“Chris is a real pro,” Nicholas J. Rasmussen, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said of Mr. Maier. “The idea is justified because we won the war against Daesh puts credulity to the test.”
Pentagon officials insist they are not taking ISIS lightly, but that the time has come to revamp the department’s counterterrorism policy efforts. The dismantling of Mr. Maier’s office and his 15 or so staff follows a similar consolidation at the State Department, where the anti-Daesh functions performed by James Jeffrey have been transferred to the permanent anti-Daesh coordinator. terrorism from the department when Jeffrey retired last month.
“The Defense Ministry will continue to engage with our partners and allies to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS and encourage the repatriation of foreign terrorist fighters for prosecution,” the Pentagon statement said.