If the Obama administration were serious about wiping out violent jihadist movements in Africa and the Middle East, it could unleash Special Operations forces "in the next 48 hours" to start waging unconventional warfare — air and ground — on the likes of Boko Haram and the Islamic State, says retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely.
But a "weak, inept" White House national security team that commands little respect around the world, and has little credibility, cannot seem to "get it together" in any of the global terrorist hotspots, Vietnam veteran and military commentator Vallely told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV
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Small wonder, then, that less-developed militaries in countries such as Nigeria and Iraq are struggling against jihadis
, said Vallely.
"There's ways to do this," said Vallely, who rose to deputy commanding general, U.S. Pacific Command, before retiring in 1993. "But we don't seem to have the right formula or strategy, and the White House will not listen to the Special Operations guys in the Pentagon."
The Special Operations Command of U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., is where the expertise resides for fighting terrorist organizations, he said.
"I would give the job to the four-star," said Vallely, meaning the general in charge of Special Operations Command, "and have him conduct all unconventional air-ground operations against all the targets that we can find where ISIS, Boko Haram and others are located.
"We took out the Taliban and al-Qaida [in Afghanistan] in 34 days with 100 special operators and air power back in the fall of 2001, and we can do it again today," he said "But we have to have the resolve to do it."
But in every theater of conflict involving U.S., from Nigeria to Syria to the Ukraine, the national security team assembled by President Barack Obama, and the State Department under Secretary of State John Kerry, are floundering, according to Vallely.
An example, he said, is the contradictory, yes-no-maybe messages coming from both of those executive branches on whether or not the U.S. will provide arms to Ukraine
to fight off separatists backed by Russia.
Vallely criticized "the rhetoric, the empty words, coming out of the White House and the State Department."
"You have to take action, you have to look like a leader, and then others will respect you," he said. "That's not happening now."
He said the White House needs "a new national security team."
In the Middle East
, Vallely said that other countries including Israel and Jordan have to fully commit themselves to joining the U.S. against the Islamic State (ISIS). Vallely sounded hopeful that Jordan, enraged by ISIS's horrific videotaped execution of a fighter pilot, will resolve to get into the fight.
"King Abdullah [of Jordan] was the head of the Jordanian Special Forces back when he was a colonel … and he's been trained at Sandhurst," said Vallely, meaning the United Kingdom's Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
"Jordan has been a target," Vallely said, noting that ISIS has vowed to do in Jordan, and then Saudi Arabia, what it's done in Iraq and Syria.
"Once you tear those down then you've got the border of Israel," said Vallely. "This all has to come together and I would encourage Israel to become part of this. This is an effort that's got to be done jointly with air-ground operations. Find those targets and eliminate them.
"This could be launched within the next 48 hours if we're serious about it," he said, adding, "King Abdullah will take the lead in this."
Vallely also took a moment to define "unconventional warfare" as he says it should be waged against the jihadist armies.
He described major U.S. military bases in the Middle East as remnants of conventional-warfare thinking: "We should never have put these big bases in," he said.
Instead, said Vallely, "you use the joint strike force operations, what I call the lily pad strategy, where we gather good intelligence, target, and use our special operators — along with air power — to conduct raids, rescue operations."
"The Special Operations Command has been structured since 1988 under President Ronald Reagan to do these kind of things," he said. "They should be the operational command … to conduct these operations worldwide and to work with King Abdullah.
"We do have a U.S. and Jordanian special operations center — counterterrorism center — located in Jordan," he said. "It has been there for quite a while now, but I would have my special operators working there with King Abdullah right now targeting every ISIS location.
"We can find anything on the ground," he said. "We can target a vehicle and look at the license plate with the capability we have from a high-tech intelligence gathering system to include satellites, drones, fighters, intel people on the ground and so on.
"That's the focus we need to defeat ISIS and this radical Islam, whether it be in Nigeria, Yemen, Syria or Iraq," said Vallely.
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