Sebastian Gorka, the deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, on Tuesday hailed the liberation of Mosul, Iraq as a milestone in the fight to"crush the home of the caliphate" set up by the Islamic State.
Gorka, appearing on MSNBC, celebrated the news of Iraqi Prime Minster Haider al-Abadi over the weekend declaring victory in Mosul. Gorka credited Trump's foreign policy and the leadership of Defense Secretary James Mattis for helping Iraqi forces retake the city from ISIS.
"It's not the end of the story; it's the beginning. But it shows you what can be done in just 24 weeks," Gorka said. "We went from an Obama policy of attrition to one of annihilation under Secretary Mattis."
Gorka said that the strategic importance of Mosul makes this a development that will benefit the United States and its Middle Eastern partners.
"Remember that it was in June of 2014 that ISIS declared the so-called caliphate from Mosul," Gorka said. "This is the center of gravity of the jihadi movement, and thanks to our Iraqi partners, thanks to U.S. forces that are assisting them, we've managed to crush the home of the caliphate."
"That's real news and that's good for all Americans, for our partners, our Muslim partners in the region," he added.
Gorka said that operations in Mosul would have to continue, but now the work will largely be political.
"There are going to be continuing operations just as you had for days and days in Berlin after the end of the war, so that's nothing new," Gorka said. "You liberate a city and then up tactical mopping-up operations."
"At the end of the day, it's not just about kinetics, it's not just about body bags and killing terrorists," he added. "It's about a political resolution, which means the constituent elements of Iraq have to come to the decision that they will work together. As our founding fathers said, you must stick together or hang together."
Gorka said that these developments provide "hope" for Iraq's future. News of Mosul's liberation came two days before the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters that it had "confirmed information" that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed.