A man inspects damage at an oil refinery and a gas station that were targeted by what activists said were U.S.-led air strikes, in the town of Tel Abyad of Raqqa governorate, near the border with Turkey October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer
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The United States has yet to explain exactly what victory might look like in its war against ISIS, but it is becoming clear that success will depend heavily on political events in Syria and Iraq that are beyond its control, experts say.Based on rough outlines offered by U.S. officials, the war strategy is counting on defeating ISIS fighters first in Iraq through a combination of Kurdish forces, Iraqi army troops, Shiite volunteers and a militia or "national guard" of Sunni tribes – which does not yet exist.At that pace, it will take about three years before the force is big enough to prevail against ISIS, according to the military's top officer, Gen. Martin Dempsey.In Iraq, rolling back ISIS extremists will hinge not on weapons or tactics but on the Shiite-led Baghdad government giving up its sectarian ways and reaching out to the country's alienated Sunni community, analysts said.
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