- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 4, 2015

Former CIA Director and retired Gen. David Petraeus said Wednesday that the U.S.-led coalition’s fight against the Islamic State group is “probably losing” at this time.

The architect of the successful “surge” strategy in Iraq in 2007 told Charlie Rose “These are fights where if you’re not winning, you’re probably losing, because time is not on your side,” when asked if the U.S. was winning, CBS reported.

Gen. Petraeus said that recent seizures of Ramadi in Iraq and the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria were significant operational and strategic setbacks.

“It’s worrisome. As we say, ‘The enemy gets a vote,’” he said, CBS reported. “But this is a moment at which I think you step back and say ‘What do you do in the military arena? What also do we need to do in the political arena?’”

Asked by Mr. Rose if the U.S. should rely on Iran-backed Shiite militias to secure battlefield victories for Iraq forces, Gen. Petraeus replied that such an option should only be used as a last resort.

“What we need to do is focus not just on the military. You can’t kill or capture your way out of an industrial strength insurgency like this, Charlie — really, an industrial strength conventional force, because that’s what [the Islamic State] has actually come to be. You need to have the political component, and without that, without that, you’re not going to solve the problem,” he said.

Iraq security forces and Iran-backed militias are currently preparing to retake the city of Ramadi, which fell under Islamic State control last month.

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