Jeff Seldin Profile picture
Aug 13, 2018 15 tweets 13 min read
DEVELOPING: #ISIS force strength now may be close to its peak in 2015.
As of June 2018, estimated 28,600 to 31,600 #Daesh fighters in #Iraq #Syria per IG report

US intelligence estimates had 33,000 #ISIS fighters at group's peak in 2015

h/t @nickglavin
The same report says there are about 200 #ISIS fighters in #Philippines

media.defense.gov/2018/Aug/07/20…
#ISIS caliphate gone but it's foot soldiers remain-as many as 32,000 #Daesh in #Iraq #Syria per latest @DeptofDefense intel

At its peak US intel officials said ISIS boasted about 33,000 fighters
voanews.com/a/far-from-dea…
To date, the US has $14.3 billion on more than 24,000 airstrikes to destroy #ISIS in #Iraq #Syria, with military officials saying airstrikes alone have killed 50,000 jihadists - but the new intel estimates say the net result is a reduction of about 1,500 fighters
“Taken at face value, the US government is saying #ISIS has the same number of fighters in Iraq and Syria today as when the bombing campaign began,” @thomasjoscelyn tells @VOANews
"There is no question that #ISIS has had a prolific recruiting machine" per @thomasjoscelyn, adding if the numbers are right "They are saying that ISIS was able to replace its entire force structure despite fighting multiple adversaries in both countries"
#ISIS is in the process of a largely successful transition to a networked terrorist organization" @nickglavin tells @VOANews re intel 32,000 fighters in #Iraq #Syria "Illustrates the mounting challenge faced by our partners in Iraq & Syria to deliver ISIS an enduring defeat"
#ISIS looking resurgent not just in #Iraq #Syria. Senior US counterterrorism officials tells @VOANews there are 1,000-1,500 fighters in #Afghanistan, up from about 600-700 this time last year
Caveat-US military, intel officials have long been wary about numbers & counting #ISIS fighters, warning it is at best an inexact science
Also worth noting that at it's peak, when US estimated #ISIS had 33,000 fighters in #Iraq #Syria, senior defense officials thought only about 17,000 were 'card-carrying' members & truly devoted to the cause
Who is counted as an #ISIS fighter is also a problem, as different intel estimates count differently-some including family members or ISIS supporters who did not actually fight, like doctors, bureaucrats, IT specialists, etc
For the latest US #ISIS estimates, a senior defense official told @VOANews it's possible the numbers could include family members, others w/strong connections to #Daesh, though not necessarily capable or willing to take up arms/conduct terror attacks
Also Monday, a new @UN report based on member state intel seemed to support the US estimates on #ISIS fighters in #Iraq #Syria, saying there are “between 20,000 and 30,000 [ISIS] individuals, roughly equally distributed between the two countries”
Those numbers include “a significant component” of the thousands of #foreignfighters who flocked to #Iraq #Syria to join the self-declared #ISIS caliphate, per the @UN report, further warning they are not breaking rank
“Despite the damage to bureaucratic structures of the so-called ‘caliphate,’ the collective discipline of #ISIL is intact,” the report continued “Although he is reported to have been injured, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi remains in authority”
re @UN #ISIS report

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More from @jseldin

Aug 17, 2018
NEW: 12 former senior intel official issue statement on "ill-considered & unprecedented remarks & actions by the White House" re former @CIA Dir. @JohnBrennan

"Insinuations and allegations of wrongdoing on the part of Brennan while in office are baseless," they say
"The president’s action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances – and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech" per statement
"We have never before seen the approval or removal of security clearances used as a political tool...this action is quite clearly a signal to other former and current officials" the former intel officials say
re @POTUS revoking @JohnBrennan's security clearance
Read 8 tweets
Aug 7, 2018
NEW: “I have all the authority I need” per @DeptofDefense Sec Jim Mattis when asked about countering possible #Russia info ops/#cyber attacks red #Election2018
"We all saw in 2016 what happened when the #Russia|ns & possibly others, but the Russians for certain tried to do both influence operations & actually get in & actually corrupt some of the election process" per SecDef Mattis before meeting w/#British Defense Sec @GavinWilliamson
"The adversaries may be more than just #Russia" @DeptofDefense Sec Mattis tells reporters re #election security "We are not focused solely on one country. We are focused on protecting the elections themselves"
Read 13 tweets
Aug 1, 2018
Highlights fro #Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing on foreign interference via social media platforms:

"Election interference from abroad represents an intolerable assault on the democratic foundation this republic was built on" per @SenatorBurr
"It's also important that the American people know that these activities neither began nor ended with the 2016 elections" per @SenatorBurr "Foreign actors continue an aggressive and pervasive influence campaign against the #UnitedStatesofAmerica"
Efforts like those id'd by @facebook "creating events on our streets w/real #Americans unknowingly participating" adds @SenatorBurr
Read 18 tweets
Jul 3, 2018
BREAKING: Senate Intelligence Committee issues initial findings on its assessment of the 2017 US intelligence community assessment that #Russia meddled in #Election2016 "supported by the evidence"

burr.senate.gov/download/final…
MORE: Senate Intel Committee "concurs with intelligence and open-source assessments that this influence campaign was approved by President #Putin" per just issued report
re #Russia meddling with #Election2016 with eventual goal to boost @realDonaldTrump
NEW: Senate Intel Committee report backs US intelligence finding that #Russia #Putin "aspired to help" President-elect Trump - says US agencies provided intel "to support this assessment...information obtained subsequent to publication of the ICA provides further support"
Read 7 tweets
Mar 20, 2018
US needs low yield nuclear weapons, @US_Stratcom Cmdr @usairforce Gen John Hyten tells #SASC hearing - "That capability's a deterrence weapon to respond the threat that #Russia in particular is portraying"
"The #Russia|n doctrine will be to use a low-yield nuclear weapon on the battlefield in case of a conventional over-match with an adversary" per Gen Hyten, citing Vladimir Putin's own words
"Our defense is deterrent capability" per @US_Stratcom's Gen Hyten, when asked about threat from #Russia #China #hypersonic missiles "We don't have any defense that could deny the deployment of such a weapon against us"
Read 16 tweets
Mar 8, 2018
#Europe "an increasingly complex & competitive security environment," SACEUR/@US_EUCOM Commander Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti tells #SASC in opening statement
"Our adaptation to the environment has made significant progress...particularly under the European Deterrence Initiative" per Gen Scaparrotti, calling it "the largest reinforcement of Euro-Atlantic Defense in a generation"
Gen Scaparrotti also says @NATO alliance "is strong" and that "European allies & #Canada have turned a corner on defense spending with increases in each of the past 3 years" adding $46 billion to defense spending
Read 44 tweets

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