US President Donald Trump’s plan to defeat ISIS (IS, Daesh, ISIL) looks much like that of Barack Obama, according to officials familiar with the matter. It also seems that Trump is unlikely to deliver on his election promise to consider joining forces with Russia in Syria.
US President Donald Trump’s much-anticipated plan to defeat ISIS (IS, Daesh, ISIL) resembles nothing so much as his predecessor’s strategy, NBC News reported citing two senior officials with knowledge of the matter.
“The current plan to defeat the Islamic State [Daesh] is just like that old saying: Plan B is just, ‘Try harder at Plan A’. We have not come up with new ways of approaching this. I would say the president might want to send that report back to his team to take another hard look,” retired Admiral James Stavridis told the media outlet.
The media outlet specified that the new plan envisages continued bombing, increasing support and assistance to local forces in Iraq and Syria to seize ISIS’s strongholds in Mosul and Raqqa. It also calls for cutting off ISIS’s sources of income and stabilizing the areas captured from militants.
Still, the question on everyone’s lips since Trump’s inauguration has been whether or not the US President will team up with Russia to defeat ISIS.
Although Trump had repeatedly dropped hints during his election campaign that he would consider joining forces with Moscow in Syria, the information came earlier this week that the US President is not planning to increase cooperation with Russia.
Furthermore, it was also reported that Washington is mulling beefing up the US’ military presence on the ground in the region.
Citing US defense officials familiar with the matter, the Washington Post wrote Wednesday that the US military may deploy “up to 1,000 more soldiers into northern Syria in the coming weeks.”
If approved by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and President Trump, the deployment would double the number of US soldiers on the ground in Syria, the media outlet noted.
According to earlier reports, there are about 500 US Special Ops in Syria as well as 250 Rangers and 200 Marines. In addition, there are more than 5,000 American military personnel including advisers, trainers and attack helicopter crews currently deployed in Iraq.
Politico’s defense editor Bryan Bender reported Friday about concerns growing inside the Pentagon that “the United States could finish up in another open-ended ground war,” if it continues to beef up its presence on the ground in the Middle East.
“The US has quietly sent hundreds of additional soldiers to Iraq and Syria since Trump took office, and is considering dispatching thousands more to counter ISIS [Daesh], fight militants in Yemen and stem a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan,” Bender wrote, adding that the latest developments clearly contradict Trump’s election promise “to steer clear of foreign entanglements.”
“Some call this accelerating the campaign; some call it mission creep,” a US military officer told the columnist, speaking on conditions of anonymity.
On Thursday Mattis met with Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman to discuss Middle Eastern security matters.
It has since become clear that Trump will pursue a strategy strikingly similar to that of his predecessor, Perendzhiev said, adding that the US Middle Eastern policy is largely impacted by influential lobbyists not America’s national interests.