Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero who just returned from Iraq, was on “Special Report” to explain the challenges in the ground fight against ISIS.

Barbero, who has served more than 46 months in Iraq over three separate tours, has just returned from the front lines with an assessment of problems.

He said the Kurds are “outgunned and overmatched by ISIS,” explaining that Kurdish forces have been requesting heavy weapons from us for weeks.

Barbero said the policy problem at play is that all military aid goes through Baghdad, and the U.S. is very sensitive to Baghdad’s feelings about arming the Kurds. He said that the U.S. is also “held hostage” by Turkey, which has a different agenda.

The general explained that the Kurds are frustrated with the numbers and effectiveness of U.S. airstrikes, which are bringing diminishing returns.

“You can’t airstrike your way out of this. […] ISIS is smart, they’ve adapted, they move at night, they’ve dispersed, they go into villages.”

He said that five airstrikes a day around Kobani will not make a difference.

“These are airstrikes, this is not an air campaign,” Barbero said.

Barbero stressed the importance of a ground force which can dislodge ISIS. He said that means Kurdish forces and Iraqi security forces will have to fight, which will require U.S. advising and assistance.

Watch the full interview.


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