Defense Secretary Mattis Says Military Operation Against ISIS Will Change in 2018

Melanie Arter
By Melanie Arter | January 2, 2018 | 12:26 PM EST

Defense Secretary James Mattis (Screenshot of C-SPAN video)

The new year means a new approach in the fight against ISIS, according to Defense Secretary James Mattis.

The destruction of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s physical caliphate will change the way the coalition goes after ISIS, Mattis told reporters in a press gaggle last week.

“We sit here today at the end of 2017. The caliphate is on the run. We’re breaking them,” the defense secretary said.

He said the coalition is “in the process of crushing the life out of the caliphate” in Raqqa and at the same time trying to protect innocent life, “which is very hard with this group.”

In 2018, he sees ISIS more as a “brand” that can “inspire lone wolf attacks” and other groups.

“It can inspire lone wolf attacks; it can inspire other groups,” Mattis said, “but it is less inspirational when they have lost their physical caliphate.

“It is less inspirational as the stories of what it was like living under their rule come out. I think it is a brand with a diminishing appeal, but the appeal is still there for those who go in for that philosophy,” the defense secretary said.


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