BY ANDREI AKULOV // STRATEGIC-CULTURE.ORG
Putting together the bits of information already available from various sources provides some indication of what the new US anti-terror strategy is about.
The initial draft of the review is now complete. The US Defense Department presented a tentative plan (strategy review) «to rapidly defeat» the Islamic State (IS) terror group to the president’s national security team on February 27. The paper is more of a general outline of the options currently available than a detailed, step-by-step strategy for achieving the final victory. Defense Secretary James Mattis described the report as «a framework for a broader discussion» of a strategy to be developed over time, rather than a ready-to-execute military plan. «it’s not a ‘check-the-block, pick A or B or C’ kind of a plan», as he put it. The report will serve as a basis for broader discussion with the new National Security Advisor and White House.
The review offers plans of actions around the world, not just in Iraq and Syria. The Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the preliminary plan is trans-regional. «This is not just a military plan. It draws upon all elements of national power-diplomatic, financial, cyber, intelligence (and) public diplomacy», according to him. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the emerging strategy will target not just Islamic State militants but also Al Qaeda and other extremist organizations in the Middle East and beyond. The general said the United States is evaluating the possibility of basing troops in Iraq long after the recapture of Mosul from the IS. That raises the possibility that a longer-term American presence alongside local partners in Syria may also be required.