One of the first executive memoranda signed by President Donald Trump requested a plan from the Pentagon to defeat Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/ISIL/Daesh/al-Qaeda et al.
“The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is not the only threat from radical Islamic terrorism that the United States faces, but it is among the most vicious and aggressive. It is also attempting to create its own state, which ISIS claims as a ‘caliphate,’” the president’s memo read. “But there can be no accommodation or negotiation with it… ISIS is responsible for the violent murder of American citizens in the Middle East, including the beheadings of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and Peter Abdul-Rahman Kassig, as well as the death of Kayla Mueller. In addition, ISIS has inspired attacks in the United States, including the December 2015 attack in San Bernardino, California, and the June 2016 attack in Orlando, Florida. ISIS is complicit in a number of terrorist attacks on our allies in which Americans have been wounded or killed, such as the November 2015 attack in Paris, France, the March 2016 attack in Brussels, Belgium, the July 2016 attack in Nice, France, and the December 2016 attack in Berlin, Germany.”
President Trump also directed military strategic OPLANs identify regional allies, establish a cyber operation to delegitimize ISIS, cut off and seize ISIS’ financial assets, as well as, the cost to taxpayers that should be included in the next Congressional budget.
Since the January 28 memo, military plans have outlined a strategy for the much talked about end game for ISIS’ destruction in symmetrical and asymmetrical warfare. An officer with experience in strategic planning suggested the planning is one way for the Trump administration to make good on a campaign promise of eradicating ISIS.
For those wondering why Trump undertook a broad travel restriction against seven countries (all but Iran have no functioning government) out of the gate, his military strategy illustrates why the US should be concerned about refugees. Many advisors, including Trump’s closest advisor, National Security Advisory, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn say it’s time to either declare war, defend our borders by reducing immigration or both.
“Unfortunately, killing ISIS won’t stop attacks on Christians and Jews. Only securing borders, enforcing the law and halting immigration until we can sort out who is actually in the country will work,” said retired US Army Colonel and author of five military books, Douglas Macgregor.
Nevertheless, President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the Department of Defense will finally be released from its current restraints of assuming Islam is a religion like any other when in fact, many observers claim it is a subversive ideology targeting the overthrow of non-Islamist governments.
One military plan allegedly presented to the administration identifies the US strategies have not worked thus far to eliminate ISIS in the Middle East: Air power combined with Special Operations Forces (SOF) lack enough punch to seize territory, and, ground forces under the current rules of engagement (ROE) to control populations and territory. If the President is serious about destroying ISIS the following approaches have been suggested:
— Ask congress for a declaration of war against ISIS/ISIL and the camels they rode in on. Also, bar Islamist jihadis regardless of origin from entry into or residing inside the United States.
— If Congress agrees, then, direct the Army Chief of Staff to assemble a force for deployment through Jordan (via Aqaba) of no less than 4 brigade equivalents of armored forces (roughly 360 tanks plus 400+ Bradley IFVs and MLRS, Mortars, etc…) with support elements (25-30,000 troops) for use in close cooperation with US air power to systematically attack concentrations of ISIS fighters until ISIS is annihilated. Simultaneously, coordinate the movement of the US Army ground force into the region with the Russians, Turks, Syrians, Saudis, Iraqis and Jordanians.
— Wartime ROE would apply. Tactically, ISIS would be compelled to hold its ground to preserve the “Caliphate” making ISIS vulnerable to destruction. Those that fled could be herded into kill zones for airpower or toward the borders of surrounding states where they could be rounded up and incarcerated/killed.
–Make sure the ports, airports, and borders are sealed and the Islamists are expelled and kept out. Why? The above-recommended action will recruit new Islamists to attack the US, but it will crush the geographically oriented ISIS Caliphate out of existence. It simply won’t halt new attacks against Europe and us unless we secure the borders, and impose tough security measures against Islamists that are already here.
–The Army Chief of Staff could assemble such a force in less than six months and if he can’t, the administration needs to fire the Army Chief of Staff and put a young two star in charge and tell him to get the job done or he’s fired too.
Commenting on the proposed OPLAN Macgregor suggested “There is no way to eradicate the threat of Islamism with limited military operations. The Muslim Near East is too vast, there are too many Muslims, and there are too many Muslims willing to seek martyrdom rather than live with what they feel is the constant humiliation of Allah.”
He also firmly said if there is no buy-in with Congress, “then the US should immediately withdraw all US ground forces from the Near East and Afghanistan and focus on the homeland, period.”
This is a simple plan, but one that Trump’s generals’ feel would be quite effective. While there are multiple plans headed to President Trump’s desk before the end of the month, most agree Congress must be supportive.
Backing the new president, Secretary of Defense retired Marine General, James Mattis set the tone at his Senate confirmation hearing when he told committee members, “We have to deliver a very hard blow against ISIS in the Middle East so there is no sense of invulnerability or invincibility there.”
With the GOP controlling two branches of government, there is no excuse for not bringing President Trump’s eventual plan to fruition. But this action is likely to separate politicians committed to the military industrial complex, from those who stand behind their president. Who wins? Will it be the US military? In either case, the country should unite to rid the planet of ISIS, then after winning again, refocus on President Trump’s “America First” policies.