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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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President Donald Trump Key Force In Driving The Midterms Elections

Trump’s name will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballots, but, he will clearly be front and center in the minds of voters

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President Donald Trump speaks at a rally endorsing the Republican ticket in Erie, Pennsylvania, VOA

Three weeks before a crucial U.S. midterm election, it would be difficult to find much that Democrats and Republicans agree on. Both parties, however, seem to agree on one thing: President Donald Trump will be the key issue in elections that will determine control of Congress for the next two years.

For many voters, the “Trump factor” could be a deciding consideration in this year’s midterms. And as the president campaigns on behalf of Republicans around the country, he is quick to remind his supporters that he has a huge personal stake in the outcome on Nov. 6.

“All of this extraordinary progress is at stake,” Trump told a recent rally in Southaven, Mississippi. “I’m not on the ballot. But in a certain way, I am on the ballot. So please, go out and vote. Go out and vote.”

Motivating Democrats

As much as Trump motivates his core supporters, he also energizes critics like Jenny Heinz, who helped organize a recent anti-Trump rally in New York City.

“There is an active resistance to this president, who is operating as if he is above the law.”

No question, Trump is the central figure in this year’s election, according to American University analyst David Barker.

“Yes, Democrats from the day after the election in 2016 have been waiting for this day, and it is all about Trump,” Barker told VOA. “Trump fully embraces that. He wants it to be all about him.”

Historically, midterm elections have been a mix of local issues, local candidates, and partly a referendum on the sitting president.

This year’s campaign seems to have accelerated a trend whereby midterm congressional elections have increasingly become nationalized.

“It really is now all national, and everyone is kind of looking at this as either a referendum for or against the president and his party,” said George Washington University expert Lara Brown.

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supporters of President Donald Trump, wearing Mike Braun for Congress shirts, cheer as he arrives for a campaign rally at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind. VOA

In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, a majority of voters in both parties said a congressional candidate who shares their view of Trump is an important consideration as they assess the coming midterms.

Seizing the spotlight

Unlike some presidents who have tried to resist the idea that the midterms are a presidential referendum, Trump has willingly embraced it.

Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon told Associated Press Television that he favors the approach.

“I think if you make this a national referendum and nationalize this election on the success of President Trump’s program, it is a clear winner, and I think the Democrats get crushed.”

Others are skeptical, including former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

“All right, fine. You want it to be about you? Well, every candidate on the ballot now has to account for your behavior, has to account for your tweets,” said Steele, a recent guest on VOA’s Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren.

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President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. VOA

Trump hopes to boost Republican turnout in November; but, Democrats argue he is likely to be just as effective in spurring their voters to the polls.

Maryland Democratic Representative Dutch Ruppersberger also spoke on Plugged In.

“When all you do is care about yourself and not about people, not about what they need – like your seniors needing medical care. And you just want to look good and knock them out (politically), which is happening, this is hurting. And this is why, I think, a lot of people will come out (to vote).”

Tending the base

Trump has been aggressive on the campaign trail courting his base, especially in Republican-leaning states where many of this year’s closer Senate races are taking place.

“They are focusing on their base, and they are trying to make sure that they are going to show up and vote. And it could make some difference in close midterm elections,” said University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. administers the House oath of office to Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., during a mock swearing in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, . VOA

Some Republicans have urged Trump to try and broaden his appeal beyond his base during campaign visits this year.

But Gallup pollster Frank Newport said the president has limited options.

Also Read: Obama On Why Its Important To Vote In This Midterm Elections

“He has kind of given up on attempting to broaden his appeal, it looks like. It fits more with his style,” said Newport. “He has, as we all know, a very combative style. He likes to have enemies because that gives him somebody to fight against. So, it would be hard for a president like Trump anyway to try and broaden his appeal.”

Trump’s name will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballots, but, he will clearly be front and center in the minds of voters, and the midterm results could determine the future of his presidency. (VOA)