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US President Donald Trump’s Plan to defeat Islamic State (IS) Terror Group Looks much like Barack Obama’s: Official

The bombing campaign against IS over the last two and half years, Deptula noted, has been commanded by Army generals

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Washington, March 18, 2017: The Pentagon has given US President Donald Trump a secret plan to defeat the terror group IS, which is a little more than an “intensification” of what the Obama administration had, senior officials who reviewed the document told NBC News.

Trump had promised during the campaign to implement a “secret plan” to defeat the Islamic State, including a pledge to “bomb the hell out of” the terror group in Iraq and Syria.

However, the plan calls for continued bombing; beefing up support and assistance to local forces to retake its Iraqi stronghold Mosul and ultimately the IS capital of Raqqa in Syria; drying up IS’s sources of income; and stabilising the areas retaken from IS, the officials said in an exclusive interaction with NBC News.

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Two prominent military strategists told the television channel on Friday that they fear the plan is insufficient, and would not fulfil Trump’s pledges to “totally obliterate IS” and do it quickly.

“The current plan to defeat the Islamic State is just like that old saying: Plan B is just, ‘Try harder at Plan A,'” said retired Admiral James Stavridis, an NBC News analyst.

“We have not come up with new ways of approaching this. I would say the President might want to send that report back to his team to take another hard look.”

Retired Air Force Gen Dave Deptula, who planned the air campaign in the first Iraq war and is a vigorous advocate of conventional air power, insisted that the military should be directing more firepower at the IS.

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Last week, the commander of US Central Command, Gen Joseph Votel, signalled to Congress that the current approach was working.

“The Counter-IS campaign has entered its third year and we are on track with the military plan to defeat the terrorist organisation in Iraq and Syria,” said Votel in testimony prepared for the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“If you view the Islamic State as a body, what’s been going on with the current strategy is we’ve been attacking their fingers and their toes,” said Deptula.

The bombing campaign against IS over the last two and half years, Deptula noted, has been commanded by Army generals. He says more air power is needed and that the Army should no longer be commanding the airstrikes against IS.

The NBC News report says the irony of the similarities between the Obama plan and the Trump plan is that as a candidate, Trump repeatedly called Obama’s IS strategy a failure.

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 “We have to be unpredictable starting now. But they’re going to be gone,” he said in August 2016. “IS will be gone if I’m elected President. And they’ll be gone quickly.”

Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis told NBC News that the Defence Department’s preliminary plan sent to the White House is a grand strategy – which places, even more, emphasis on diplomacy, economics and information than it does on the military.

It creates, he says, a framework for more tactical questions to be answered later.

The plan “draws upon the whole-of-government, better synchronising public diplomacy, cyber, information, financial, as well as military instruments of power, and it enhances our coordination across regions,” he added. (IANS)

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Donald Trump Negotiates Trade Deal With Japan

Trump to negotiate the trade deal with Japan

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The US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday he is negotiating a bilateral trade agreement with Japan and that his country would only re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) if its member countries offered him a deal he could not refuse.

“I don’t want to go back into TPP. But if they offered us a deal I can’t refuse on behalf of the US, I would do it. In the meantime, we are negotiating, and what I really would prefer is negotiating a one-on-one deal with Japan,” Donald Trump said at a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

However, Abe stressed his country’s position towards the TPP, saying that it “is the best for both countries,” although he acknowledged the US’s interest in a bilateral trade deal, Efe reported.

Trump said that should his country reach a trade agreement with Japan, there will be talks about the possibility of ending tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, a move that Washington introduced in March to a number of countries, including Japan.

Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump added that his primary concern at the moment is the “massive” trade deficit with Japan, which amounted to “from $69 billion to $100 billion a year.”

In fact, the trade deficit with Japan last year stood at $69 billion, far from the $100 billion that the US President claimed, according to the official figures by the US Department of Commerce.

The two leaders made these announcements in a joint press conference at the tycoon’s private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, where Abe arrived on Tuesday to have meeting with Trump on his four-day visit to the US.

Also Read: China And Russia Accused of Manipulating Their Currencies By Trump

Last week, the White House announced that Trump had asked the US foreign trade representative Robert Lighthizer and the economic adviser Larry Kudlow to “take another look at whether or not a better deal (with the TPP) could be negotiated.”

However, Trump has shown little interest in negotiations that would further complicate the matter, since the other 11 countries that negotiated the original TPP, with the then Barack Obama administration, have already signed their own multilateral deal, the so-called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), or TPP-11.

Shinzo Abe
FILE IMAGE- Shinzo Abe.

On the other hand, during this four-day visit Abe has a special interest in getting an exemption for Japan from the 10 per cent and 25 per cent tariffs that the Trump administration imposes on aluminum and steel imports, respectively.

Trump has granted a temporary exemption until May 1 to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South Korea and the European Union.

Also Read: White House Denies Any Direct Talks Yet Between Trump And Kim

Japan has been left out of the exempted countries despite being one of the US’s major allies, and for that reason Abe is trying to make use of his visit to secure a place on that list, although Japan barely produces aluminum and the amount of steel exported to the US stands at only around 5 percent of its total steel exports.  IANS