Pentagon delivers ‘global’ framework for strategy to ‘rapidly defeat ISIS’

by WorldTribune Staff, February 28, 2017

The Pentagon on Feb. 27 delivered its plan to “rapidly defeat” Islamic State (ISIS) and officials familiar with the plan said it could include deeper U.S. involvement in Syria.

Defense Secretary Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis presented the plan after President Donald Trump ordered a 30-day strategy review ahead of a Feb. 27 meeting of the National Security Council.

President Donald Trump with Defense Secretary Jim  Mattis. /Reuters

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said details of the report are classified secret.

“It is a plan to rapidly defeat ISIS,” Davis said.

Officials familiar with the review told Military Times that the plan will likely lead to decisions that mean more U.S. military involvement in Syria, and possibly more ground troops. The officials weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the document and demanded anonymity.

Davis described the Mattis report as “a framework for a broader discussion” of a strategy to be developed over time, rather than a ready-to-execute military plan.

In a Jan. 28 executive order, Trump said he wanted within 30 days a “preliminary draft” of a plan to “defeat ISIS.” Davis said the report defines what it means to “defeat” the group, which he wouldn’t reveal to reporters.

It also includes some individual actions that will require decisions by the White House, Davis said, “but it’s not a ‘check-the-block, pick A or B or C’ kind of a plan.”

“This is a broad plan,” he said. “It is global. It is not just military. It is not just Iraq/Syria.”

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week the Trump administration’s strategy will target not just ISIS but also Al Qaida and other jihadist organizations in the Middle East and beyond, whose goal is to attack the United States. Dunford also emphasized that the plan would not rest mainly on military might.

Analysts say Dunford’s comment suggest Pentagon leaders may have a more nuanced view of ISIS than is reflected in Trump’s promise to “obliterate” the group. Dunford said the U.S. should be careful that in solving the ISIS problem, it does not create others.

Among sensitive questions are how to deal with Turkey, a NATO ally with much at stake in neighboring Syria, and dealing with Russia, whose year-and-a-half military intervention has propped up Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.