The Is­lamic State is not de­feated

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

John R. Allen’s Jan. 4 Fri­day Opin­ion es­say, “Our gains against ISIS are now at risk,” clearly laid out why Pres­i­dent Trump shouldn’t aban­don our fight with the Is­lamic State by leav­ing Syria. Pre­ma­turely declar­ing vic­tory would al­low the ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion to re­build and again threaten our na­tional se­cu­rity.

De­spite the pres­i­dent’s claims, the Is­lamic State hasn’t been de­feated. It re­mains a se­ri­ous threat in Iraq and Syria, as do its af­fil­i­ates in Ye­men, Afghanistan and pock­ets of Africa, and it still at­tracts a sig­nif­i­cant fol­low­ing on the In­ter­net. If the pres­i­dent with­draws U.S. forces from Syria now, he would be grant­ing the ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion a re­prieve.

U.S. and Kur­dish forces have cor­nered the Is­lamic State along the Iraq-Syria bor­der. With­out an Amer­i­can pres­ence, the Kurds would be vul­ner­a­ble not only to the Is­lamic State but also to a po­ten­tial attack by Turkey. Rather than elim­i­nat­ing the re­main­ing el­e­ments of the Is­lamic State, Kur­dish forces would be dis­tracted pre­par­ing to de­fend them­selves against a Turk­ish on­slaught.

I met Mr. Allen dur­ing a trip with other con­gres­sional leaders to Kabul in 2012. He has proved to be a thought­ful leader with con­sid­er­able ex­per­tise in the re­gion. The pres­i­dent would be wise to heed his ad­vice and not aban­don our fight against the Is­lamic State at this cru­cial mo­ment.

Dianne Fe­in­stein, Wash­ing­ton The writer, a Demo­crat, rep­re­sents

Cal­i­for­nia in the Se­nate.

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