Tags: Barack Obama | ISIS/Islamic State | pentagon | officials | plans | ISIS | strategy

WashPost: Pentagon's Plan Against ISIS Similar to Obama's Strategy

Image: WashPost: Pentagon's Plan Against ISIS Similar to Obama's Strategy
(AP)

By    |   Thursday, 29 Jun 2017 08:41 AM

The Pentagon's plan to take on the Islamic State is similar to former President Barack Obama's strategy, senior defense officials said, The Washington Post reports.

The strategy is to keep territory out of the hands of militants and to stay uninvolved in Syria's civil war, The Post reported. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and other military officials have said that they are not looking to take on the Syrian regime or the Iranians.

However, White House officials are concerned about Iran expanding in a Syrian desert battlefield and they believe the U.S. military and its proxies should be expanding in that desert instead of allowing Iran and the Syrian regime to do so, according to The Post.

The U.S.-led coalition is attempting to "compartmentalize" the area, leaving the Syrian regime and Iran in control of areas that they have conquered from militants, instead of attempting to keep them from advancing, The Post reports.

The secretary of defense, however, said he was not concerned about fighting with Iran. "Not if the Iranian militia doesn't attack us, no."

President Donald Trump's national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster said Iran's influence is harmful to the situation in Syria and Iraq.

"Iran is feeding this cycle of sectarian conflict to keep the Arab world perpetually weak," McMaster said Wednesday at a Center for a New American Security conference, according to The Post.

However, McMaster said the U.S. is not planning to deny territory to Iran or Syria. "We could do a lot better to pull back the curtain on Iranian actions," he said, according to The Post.

"We have to be very clear that the reason we are in Syria is to destroy the ISIS" by "denying them a safe haven and support base," McMaster added.

Col. Ryan Dillon, the spokesman for the coalition, appeared to confirm that approach. "We in the coalition are not in the land-grab business. We are in the killing-ISIS business. That is what we want to do," Dillon said, according to The Post.

Dillon's words invite Iran and its "client regime" to take any parts of eastern Syria that they want, according to Frederic C. Hof, Atlantic Council fellow and Syria adviser to the Obama administration.

The policy will be "good news indeed in Tehran and Damascus, to say nothing of Moscow," Hof wrote in a Monday report, according to The Post.

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The Pentagon's plan to take on the Islamic State is similar to former President Barack Obama's a strategy, senior defense officials said, The Washington Post reports.
pentagon, officials, plans, ISIS, strategy, obama
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2017-41-29
Thursday, 29 Jun 2017 08:41 AM
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