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Two Long Views

10:33 AM, Jul 29, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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The U.S. has been at war for 13 years and according to General Michael Flynn, outgoing head of the Defense Intelligence Agency:

America is less safe today in large part because of the emergence of terrorist groups like the Islamic State, formerly know as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. 

As Anna Mulrine of the Christian Science Monitor reports, Flynn believes that:

The chaos and violence now reigning in Iraq after the Islamic State invasion points to a US intelligence failure, but, on the upside, it offers a key cautionary tale for Afghanistan … “The speed that [ISIS] came into this northern city of Iraq, into Mosul, and they were able to, you know, kind of [cut through Iraqi security force defenses] like a hot knife through butter through really about four [Iraqi Army] divisions … I would say that, yeah, that caught us – that level of speed that they were able to do that – caught us by surprise.” 

But Mullah Omar is talking like a winner.  As Thomas Joscelyn reports in Long War Journal:

In a message celebrating the end Ramadan, Taliban emir Mullah Omar crows about the jihadists' recent gains in Afghanistan, says the exchange of the Taliban's five top leaders once held at Guantanamo for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was a "spectacular achievement," and speaks of the Taliban's plans for governing Afghanistan. The "military situation is in favor of [the] mujahideen," Omar claims, because the "blanket of invasion has rolled back from vast areas." The mujahideen "are now more well-organized, active and unified in contrast with the past," Omar adds, and "vital centers of the enemy have come under successful attacks in cities."

As for the future:

Much of Omar's message focuses on the Taliban's governance efforts in Afghanistan. The Taliban emir clearly expects his forces to control even more territory in the near future. Thus, he informs his followers that the resurrection of his Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as it calls itself, is at hand.

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