The US military is facing the largest challenge in its history in confronting ISIS, and it may not be able to defeat the extremist group militarily or diplomatically, the chief of the US Central Command said on Tuesday.
The commander, General Joseph Votel, was speaking during an annual conference on countering violent extremism.
“We’re going to have to win the war on ISIL militarily,” Votell said, adding that it is important to understand that it will be an uphill battle and that US military power will be needed to fight back.
“The battle against ISIL will be a struggle of attrition,” he said.
“You can’t be the last country on the planet.”
The fight against ISIS has been complex, involving both military and intelligence efforts.
The US government and intelligence agencies have been trying to identify potential terrorists and their allies in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
But they also have to work with countries that are supporting the group and are supporting its fighters, including Iran and Russia.
Iran and Turkey have been providing military support to the group.
And Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been supporting the extremist Sunni Muslim group by sending arms and funding.
The White House has argued that it needs to be clear that the fight against terrorism is a war between the US and the terrorist group.
“It is time to get the facts straight on the battle against ISIS,” said Votela.
“For the first time in a long time, the United States will have a comprehensive picture of the threat to America, the homeland, and the global economy.
We’re going after ISIS, not just on the battlefield, but also in the economic sphere.”