22 Mar 2017

Trump decides anti-ISIS strategy

Officials from 69 countries that form the US-led coalition against ISIS, will be meeting today and tomorrow, in Washington. This is going to be the first taste of what Donald Trump’s strategy will be on important foreign policy matters. The purpose of the meeting, is to assess the strategy that will destroy the fanatic militant group.

Make America Great Again is the slogan that Donald Trump used during his election campaign and this doesn’t just concern the economy, but also being the leader of the allied forces in clashes all around the world. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, an ex-general manager for Exxon, will preside the meeting, which is the first for the coalition after 2014 and after Donald Trump was elected President.

State Department spokesman, Marc Toner, told the Wall Street Journal that “Secretary of State Tillerson will be meeting with our allies and he will reassure them of our ongoing commitment not just to NATO, although that’s important, but to the issues that affect their security as well as ours-namely destroying ISIS and dealing with other threats to the European and North Atlantic community.”

Trump has ordered the army’s top generals to craft an accelerated strategy to destroy the so-called Caliphate that extends in Syria and Iraq. During the meetings, allied officials are expected to provide feedback on a new anti-ISIS plan drafted by the Pentagon, which has already been presented to the President. The strategy that the Trump administration seems to be following resembles to that of Barack Obama’s. Before Trump was elected, he had accused the ex-President in his speeches for being the founder of the jihadist group ISIS.

The new administration is now evaluating options that include sending more ground troops to advise local forces and aid in targeting airstrikes. There are currently 5,000 US troops in Iraq fighting in the north and center of the country, and around 500 in Syria. President Trump, using his usual Hollywood-like rhetoric has vowed to “bomb the hell out of this ISIS group.”

News of the meeting comes as the “Raqqa is slaughtered silently” activist group has reported a US-led airstrike that resulted to the deaths of 33 people. As the group reported, a missile hit a school that was used as a shelter for displaced civilians in the area. This is not the first report of this kind of mistake. Earlier this month, the US-led coalition announced that in various airstrikes, in Syria and Iraq, almost 220 civilians were unintentionally killed.

Defense analysts believe that the US administration will ask its allies on the Arab peninsula, meaning Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, to contribute more money to share the burden of Syria’s reconstruction plan. This project is expected to meet Russia’s resistance as these countries have financed the war against its ally president Assad, and many of the jihadist groups.

According to sources at Reuters, Rex Tillerson has also proposed new dates for the NATO meeting which he had, initially, decided to skip. Trying to ease the Allies’ concerns, the State Department’s spokesman commented that “the US remains 100% committed to NATO. A decision on a new date would have to be made by consensus among the 28 NATO members.”