No, Obama was not the ‘founder’ of ISIS

Updated 10:04 PM EDT, Thu August 11, 2016
obama pentagon presser trump briefings sot_00005302.jpg
CNN
obama pentagon presser trump briefings sot_00005302.jpg
Now playing
05:27
Fact check: The real founder of ISIS
Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein waits to be introduced prior to a press conference at the National Press Club August 23, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein waits to be introduced prior to a press conference at the National Press Club August 23, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
01:44
Jill Stein raises millions for recount
Former Democratic US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to staff and supporters at the New Yorker hotel after her defeat in the presidential election November 9, 2016 in New York. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Former Democratic US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to staff and supporters at the New Yorker hotel after her defeat in the presidential election November 9, 2016 in New York. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:14
Scientists urge Clinton to call for recount
LYNDEN, WA - MAY 07: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a speech during a rally at the The Northwest Washington Fair and Event Center on May 7, 2016 in Lynden, Washington. Trump became the Republican presumptive nominee following his landslide win in Indiana on Tuesday. (Photo by Matt Mills McKnight/Getty Images)
Matt Mills McKnight/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
LYNDEN, WA - MAY 07: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a speech during a rally at the The Northwest Washington Fair and Event Center on May 7, 2016 in Lynden, Washington. Trump became the Republican presumptive nominee following his landslide win in Indiana on Tuesday. (Photo by Matt Mills McKnight/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:25
Donald Trump's wild ride
Now playing
01:46
Trump's challenges in the Middle East
donald trump undocumented immigrants crime fact check origwx ty_00013807.jpg
donald trump undocumented immigrants crime fact check origwx ty_00013807.jpg
Now playing
02:47
Fact checking Trump on crimes by immigrants
Mark Makela/Getty Images/Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Now playing
01:26
Trump vs. the tape on Obama and the protester
Now playing
01:28
Trump compares Clinton email probe to Watergate
Members of the Secret Service rush Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump off the stage at a campaign rally in Reno, Nev., on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/AP
Members of the Secret Service rush Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump off the stage at a campaign rally in Reno, Nev., on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Now playing
01:20
Donald Trump rushed off stage by Secret Service
AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:16
Trump reads letter from Patriot's coach at rally
US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during rally at the Atkinson Country Club in Atkinson, New Hampshire on November 4, 2016.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during rally at the Atkinson Country Club in Atkinson, New Hampshire on November 4, 2016.
Now playing
01:56
Trump on US officials: 'What a group of losers'
donald trump nice and cool pensacola fl bts_00001523.jpg
donald trump nice and cool pensacola fl bts_00001523.jpg
Now playing
00:49
Trump's mantra in campaign's final week: Stay on point
donald trump nice to hillary clinton and democrats orig cm_00000000.jpg
donald trump nice to hillary clinton and democrats orig cm_00000000.jpg
Now playing
01:52
Audio of Trump praising the Clintons and Democrats
cuomo lewandowski hillary clinton email exchange newday_00002327.jpg
cuomo lewandowski hillary clinton email exchange newday_00002327.jpg
Now playing
01:28
Cuomo grills Lewandowski on Clinton email 'hypocrisy'
Now playing
01:49
Meet the other Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

Story highlights

Peter Bergen says Donald Trump is wrong: President Obama and Hillary Clinton are not the founders of ISIS.

Obama has been responsible for the serious reversals ISIS is suffering on the battlefield, Bergen says

Editor’s Note: Peter Bergen is CNN’s national security analyst, a vice president at New America and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. He is the author of “United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists.”

CNN —  

At a rally in Florida on Wednesday, Donald Trump described President Obama as the “founder” of ISIS, going on to say the terrorist organization “is honoring President Obama.”

Really?

On Thursday on CNBC he amplified these comments, saying Hillary Clinton was the “co-founder” of ISIS.

Like so much else that Trump has said, these claims are false. The founder of ISIS is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a shadowy Iraqi cleric who President Obama is doing everything in his power to kill.

Trump has claimed he knows more about ISIS than America’s leading generals. Clearly this is also total nonsense; he doesn’t seem to have done the slightest thing to educate himself about ISIS.

In June, Gen. David Petraeus, formerly the commander of all US forces in Iraq, predicted the largest city that ISIS now holds, the Iraqi city of Mosul, could fall to US-supported Iraqi forces before President Obama leaves office in January.

Petraeus characterized this as “a very big deal” and went on to say, “no question ISIS is a loser in Iraq and, increasingly, Syria,” in an interview with me at New America’s offices in Manhattan.

The facts on the ground bear this out. ISIS has lost just under half the territory it once controlled in Iraq and around a fifth of what it had controlled in Syria.

45,000 ISIS fighters killed

Just in the past few days ISIS lost the city of Manbij, in northern Syria, a significant victory because it controls key routes to ISIS’ de facto Syrian capital, Raqqa.

On Wednesday Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, who leads the anti-ISIS campaign, said 45,000 ISIS fighters have been killed so far by the US-led coalition. “We estimate that over the past 11 months, we’ve killed about 25,000 enemy fighters. When you add that to the 20,000 estimated killed (previously), that’s 45,000 enemy (fighters) taken off the battlefield.”

That’s an astonishing amount of attrition for a force MacFarland estimates has a remaining strength of 15,000 to 30,000 fighters now.

U.S. intelligence estimates the US-led coalition has also killed at least 135 of ISIS leaders.

Meanwhile, the flow of Americans going to join ISIS or attempting to do so has slowed to a trickle from an average of six to one a month, according to US intelligence estimates.

The U.S. military has also stepped up the air campaign against ISIS’ wealth, for instance, bombing a bank in Iraq in January in which ISIS had stored millions in cash.

U.S. bombers have also repeatedly struck trucks carrying oil that ISIS has extracted from oil fields in the shrinking area it now controls, striking 83 tankers along the Syria-Iraq border as recently as Sunday.