If the United States enters into a war with Iran, the consequences would be disastrous — but not even just in terms of the direct losses on both sides. On CNN Tuesday, Middle East reporter Dexter Filkins explained how the conflict is a massive gift to Islamic State, at a time when America had been on the cusp of eliminating their forces entirely.
"What is the potential for ISIS to come back, as they did the last time U.S. forces pulled out?" asked anchor Anderson Cooper.
"Well, if you think about why we have troops in Iraq to begin with, it's — right now, it's mostly because we want to control ISIS, to go after the remaining pockets of ISIS that still exist," said Filkins. "There are still networks that are there ... already, you've seen a win for ISIS, because we've stopped training. We've essentially shut down training of the Kurdish forces and others who were helping us go after ISIS. The same is, you know, true with NATO, has just announced stopping training as well. That's already a victory for isis. If the U.S. has to leave, that's an absolute windfall for ISIS. There's no question they're going to try come back. We've already seen them try. There's a tempo of attacks in the last few weeks, something like 20 attacks in Iraq alone in the week of Christmas. They're trying to do something now. If we leave, are forced to leave, forced to scale back, there's an opportunity for them to come back."
"One more point on ISIS," added Filkins. "The Shiite militias and the Iranians, we were all fighting together against ISIS, the Americans and Iran and the Shiite militias that they basically oversee, they were basically cooperating in the fight against ISIS ... they weren't communicating with each other, but they were coordinating, certainly."