Fact Check: Joe Biden Falsely Claims to Have Defeated ISIS

Members of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) cheer as they carry upside-down a black flag of the Islamic State (IS) group, with the destroyed Al-Nuri mosque seen in the background, in the Old City of Mosul on July 2, 2017, during the offensive to retake the city from IS fighters. …
AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden falsely claimed on Tuesday that the administration of Barack Obama  defeated ISIS.

Biden, who has come under fire in recent weeks for attempting to rewrite his past foreign policy positions in a more favorable light, made the claim during the Democrat presidential primary debate in Des Moines, Iowa.

In particular, the former vice president argued it was of vital importance to cooperate with foreign nations in routing out terrorist organizations and ensuring global stability.

Biden said of his work in the Obama administration:

I was part of the coalition that put together 68 counties to deal with stateless terror as well as failed states. Not us alone, 68 other countries, that’s how we were able to defeat and end the caliphate [of] ISIS.

The former vice president’s claim, however, does not stand up upon closer inspection. ISIS—officially the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant—was founded in 1999 but did not rise to significant power until the early-2010s.

The terrorist group specifically took advantage of the destabilized situation in Iraq and Syria during the Obama administration to advance its numbers and territorial claims. At the group’s height, it controlled large swaths of both Syria and Iraq.

Contrary to Biden’s claims, the Obama administration proved inept in fighting the terror group. It was only after President Donald Trump took office in 2017 that ISIS began to hemorrhage fighters and territory.

In 2019, thanks to an intensified strategy, U.S. forces not only killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the long-serving leader of ISIS, but also the individual most likely to replace him, leaving the terrorist organization in turmoil.

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