The man chosen by U.S. President Barack Obama to organize the fight against the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS and ISIL, is stepping down from the position, White House officials said Tuesday. Retired Army Gen. John Allen, who has served as "special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIL" for about a year, is expected to relinquish his post amid America’s stalling efforts against the Syria and Iraq-based terrorist group, according to a Bloomberg report.
While administration staff said Allen probably would leave his post in the next four weeks, State Department officials told Bloomberg that they were not ready to officially announce his departure.
"John Allen has put his heart and soul into trying to make the president's strategy work,” said Derek Harvey, a former senior military intelligence official who worked with Allen at U.S. Central Command. “I have sympathy for the hard task he was given because I do not believe the president's team was fully on board, and he was never empowered to bring the leadership necessary to achieve the mission."
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) September 22, 2015
Allen’s pending departure comes during a difficult period for the U.S.-led fight against ISIS, which the Marine Corps commandant, Lt. Gen. Robert Neller, admits is at a “stalemate.” Similar testimony from Central Command chief Gen. Lloyd Austin last week indicated that, of the 54 so-called moderate Syrian rebels that the U.S. trained, only four or five were still fighting. The Pentagon is now investigating reports that intelligence reports were altered before being given to top officials.
Despite the setbacks, Allen spoke positively last week about the mission against ISIS while appearing on ABC News.
“Where we were a year ago today, I wasn't sure how it was going to unfold," Allen said. "It was not clear to me even that Iraq would survive this. In the intervening months, we've seen remarkable progress in many respects.”