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Islamic State exploits U.S. rules of engagement, Obama’s aversion to civilian deaths

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Even in losing, the Islamic State group has shown it conducts a “lessons learned” exercise so it won’t repeat battlefield mistakes.

Whether it can forestall what the Obama administration predicts is an inevitable defeat in Syria and Iraq is doubtful. But the fighters’ attention to U.S. rules of engagement has paid dividends at times.

Learning lessons in war is a major intellectual exercise by the U.S. military and other advanced armed forces. TheArmy operates the Center for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Although the Islamic State does not operate at that level of sophistication, its leaders do make changes on the run.

Islamic State commanders believe crowding vehicles with people makes it difficult for U.S. spy assets to determine whether civilians are aboard. It knows from public debate in Washington that the Obama administration wants an absolute minimum of civilian deaths.

The most recent “lessons learned” is the mass exit last week from the Syrian town of Manbij, north of Aleppo near the Turkish border. U.S.-backed Syrian Arab forces liberated the city by chasing out a large number of Islamic State fighters. – READ MORE

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