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In an interview with Jonathan Swan for "Axios on HBO," Iraqi President Barham Salih said that while the military defeat of ISIS is an important moment, it is still incomplete and could "easily unravel."

  • The interview was prior to news of the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Experts remain concerned about an ISIS resurgence even without the group’s leader.

The big picture: President Trump said in December 2018 that the U.S. defeated ISIS and reclaimed 100% of the group's territory in Syria. The comment drew pushback from officials who argued that defeating the group is much more complex than a military takedown. Ground reports noted continued unrest and that ISIS still had control in areas throughout the region.

  • Trump's recent withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria has left the region in disarray, with hundreds of thousands of Kurds being displaced as Turkish forces invade the region. The strain has also led to the escape of some ISIS prisoners and is provoking the Iraq-Syria border, which still has some ISIS presence.

What they're saying:

"We have had serious conversations about — about this with senior American officials, and I've said that the military defeat of ISIS is an important victory but incomplete and precarious too as well. It can easily unravel. And this is what I'm worried about. Five years of blood, treasure, effort, a lot of human misery went into defeating ISIS. This victory was no easy. And for anyone to become complacent about it is terrible, reckless, dangerous, tragic,"
— Salih to "Axios on HBO"

Go deeper: Where U.S. troops and military assets are deployed in the Middle East

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Biden reviews U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official told Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Trump supporter found with pipe bombs accused of plot to attack Democrats

Five improvised explosive devices that the FBI says "were fully operational and could cause great bodily harm or injury if handled improperly." Photo: FBI/Justice Department

The FBI believes California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the Bay Area headquarters of Twitter and Facebook were targets of a man facing federal explosives charges, according to a criminal complaint.

Driving the news: Prosecutors charged Ian Benjamin Rogers after finding weapons including five pipe bombs, 49 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition following a Jan. 15 search of his Napa County home and auto repair business. His alleged goal was to ensure former President Trump remained in office.

6 hours ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."