Washington Examiner on May 19, 2017 reported that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is crediting changes in tactics ordered by President Trump for increasing the pressure on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and leaving the beleaguered fighters with no avenue of escape. Excerpts below:

“He directed a tactical shift from shoving ISIS out of safe locations in an attrition fight to surrounding the enemy in their strongholds so we can annihilate ISIS,” Mattis said on during a Pentagon briefing on the counter-ISIS campaign.

Mattis said that by making sure foreign fighters can’t get away, or return to their home countries, “We don’t simply transplant this problem from one place to another.”

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford pointed to two other changes that came as result of the president’s direction to accelerate the defeat of ISIS, including allowing U.S. advisers to accompany partner forces closer to the front lines, and the decision to arm Syrian Kurds to facilitate the liberation of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital in Syria.

The Pentagon says since the campaign against ISIS began in 2014, the terror group has lost more than 20,000 square miles of territory and 4.1 million people have been freed from the brutal grip of ISIS rule.

Mattis said the defeat of ISIS is a foregone conclusion.

Comment: Increasing the pressure on ISIS in the Middle East is an important part of the new US policy to seriously degrade and defeat the international terrorist organization. The rise of ISIS is to a great extent the result of Obama policy since 2008. A crucial part of the new tactics is to prevent foreign fighters from getting away. Had they been allowed to escape they might have returned to Europe to create havoc.

Central to the new vigorous foreign policy of the United States is the visit at the end of May in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, of President Trump. There will be bilateral meetings in the Saudi capital and President Trump will attend a signing ceremony of several agreements to solidify American-Saudi security and economic cooperation.

Also on the agenda is a meeting with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and later Trump will deliver an important speech calling for the need to confront radical ideology. The President will also participate in the inauguration of a new center intended to fight radicalism and promote moderation as well as in a Twitter forum.

It has for eight years been the policy of the politically correct leadership in the United States and Europe to hold back in the fight against radical ideology and terrorists in Syria and Iraq supported by the Shia regime in Iran. Greater Western support of the GCC will hopefully change the failing US strategy into a stronger and more effective military but also ideological campaign against ISIS. One can only hope that the new strategy of the United States will later be met by support in Brussels by the other NATO members.


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