“A Plan to defeat ISIS”
That is what Donald Trump said he would have throughout his campaign. He went as far as to criticize some government officials for their failures or mistakes in attempting to take on the terrorist group. Now, his administration is taking steps towards combatting ISIS.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hosted an Anti-ISIS Summit, involving several nations who are battling with the Islamic Terrorist Force. There, the new administration’s plan to defeat ISIS was revealed, which was surprisingly similar to Former Commander in Chief Barack Obama’s. This did come as a shock as Trump seemed to take issue with his strategy.
“The great commonality among we who have gathered today is a commitment to bringing down a global force of evil” said Tillerson before the 68-nation coalition to bring down ISIS.
The Secretary of State began by optimistically remarking the 90% (or more) drop in the flow of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, as well as the eradication of 75% of ISIS’ online propaganda over the last year. As these advances in the war on terrorism occurred under Obama, in a way, Tillerson is giving credit to the former president.
The secretary proceeded by encouraging Egypt and Saudi Arabia to extend their efforts in the cause, and then made it clear that Islam is not the issue, but the “warped interpretation” of it is what threatens us. Attendants said this world outlook was reminiscent of former presidents like George Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.
More similarities between the Trump Agenda and Obama’s were revealed when Press Secretary Sean Spicer said America would “cut off ISIS’ funding, expand intelligence sharing and deny ISIS geographic and online safe haven.”
Although there are evident similarities in the two administrations’ agendas, the Trump Team has deviated in ways from the prior strategy.
Unlike Obama, President Trump is forging closer ties with Egypt’s president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. He went as far as to praise him, calling him a “good guy” and remarking the good “chemistry” between them. Though critics call Abdul a human rights violator, it is unlikely the topic will be discussed on his visit to the Whitehouse. Instead, the agenda will be centered on beating Islamic Extremism. Furthermore, as stated above, Tillerson has requested for Egypt to participate more in the fight.
Furthermore, Tillerson intends on stabilizing Iraq and Syria. As American and Allied troops work to take back territory in the Middle East, the Secretary said “We will continue to facilitate the return of people to their homes and work with local political leadership.” However, he did make it clear that the coalition is not nation-building.
The Trump Administration has also placed a greater emphasis on stopping ISIS propaganda via the internet. This was something that Trump stressed strongly throughout his entire campaign.
The most defining difference is probably Trump’s greater willingness to use airstrikes in the Middle East. His administration has decreased limitations of them, and has already employed them overseas.