Richard Engel: ‘Enormous Contradictions’ in U.S. Strategy Against Islamic State

Islamic State 'not degraded at all'

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Chief NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel said that there were "enormous contradictions in the U.S. strategy" against the Islamic State and that IS was "not degraded at all."

Engel said the Obama administration's strategy of suddently "inspiring" the Iraqi army to fundamentally change was "completely unrealistic."

"The Iraqi army is in no better shape now than when it collapsed," Engel told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd. "The new government is not instilling confidence in the people. It's not instilling confidence in the armed forces. The U.S. spent years and years and billions of dollars to build the Iraqi army only to watch it collapse and hand over so many of its weapons."

Reporting from Irbil, Engel noted that coalition airstrikes forced IS militants to "shift gears" temporarily to focus on Kurdistan, but now the terrorist army is once again marching toward Baghdad as they were in the beginning of the summer of 2014.

"They do not seem to be degraded at all," Engel said. "Now ISIS is once again focused on Baghdad. [The airstrike campaign] is having an impact in that it has forced ISIS to change their target somewhat, but it's certainly not slowing down the group."

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