A new CIA report reveals that the the government’s original estimates regarding the strength of the Islamic State’s fighting force has fallen short.

Previously, the Agency believed that if needed, ISIS could gather up to 10,000 troops. New information, however, has revealed that the group has between 20,000 and 31,500 readily available in Iraq and Syria alone.

Via Fox News:

The spokesperson said the new figures were determined after a review of “all-source intelligence reports” on the group from May to August.

[A CIA] spokesperson said the increase is likely due to the militant’s group recruiting gains after its success on the battlefield.

“This new total reflects an increase in members because of stronger recruitment since June following battlefield successes and the declaration of a caliphate, greater battlefield activity, and additional intelligence,” the spokesperson said.

The release of this report comes on the heels of President Obama’s address to the nation in response to growing concerns regarding the ability of the Islamic State to threaten American interests. That address—and the counterterrorism plan presented—did little to clear up what has been widely reported as “mixed messaging” from the Administration with regards to America’s strategy in the Middle East.

It’s not just ISIS that’s growing: U.S. involvement in the region is growing as well. Earlier this month, the President authorized the deployment of 350 additional troops to Iraq, bringing our total military presence to just over 1,200.

In his address to the nation, Obama said that “we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL,” and promised support to anti-ISIS forces on the ground. However, he then promised that America won’t be putting “boots on the ground” as part of the counterterrorism initiative; he also failed to mention which groups in Syria or Iraq we will be partnering with.

As ISIS grows, so does our responsibility to lead. Hopefully our president realizes just how crucial it is that he keeps his promises.


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