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Islamic State Aims for Comeback Amid Virus-Expedited U.S. Withdrawal

Inside an operational command room at Ain al-Asad air base, which is lined with maps of past missions against the Islamic State, three American radio operators stand at their desks. In past months, they provided intelligence and helped coordinate their Iraqi counterparts’ operations against Islamic State cells within large swaths of the Iraqi desert in Anbar province. But since U.S. drones killed Iranian military commander Qassem Suleimani and his ally Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in early January, there has been a pause as the withdrawing Americans focus on protecting their own troops.

Now the area the Americans are surveying has shrunk down to a fraction of its previous size, leaving large portions of the desert unmonitored. Lt. Col. Tim Garland, a U.S. officer who works directly in anti-Islamic State operations from Ain al-Asad, told Foreign Policy that if they had once surveyed an area the size of Texas, now they were looking at a sliver of that the size of Dallas.

Read more at Foreign Policy

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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