US-backed forces in Syria on Tuesday said they had captured the Isis stronghold of Raqqa, the de facto capital of jihadi group’s self-declared caliphate, after a four-month battle. In July Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in Mosul to congratulate US-backed Iraqi armed forces for victory over Isis after months of urban warfare. This brought an end to jihadist rule in the city where three years ago, the leader of ISIS declared the “caliphate” of Iraq and Syria from the pulpit of Mosul’s Great Mosque of al-Nuri, now the historic structure is back in Iraqi hands and Isis has no more territory. But former President Barak Obama pulled American troops out of Iraq in 2011 and refused to send them to Syria, President Trump didn’t send troops back to Iraq or send troops to Syria. So how was Isis defeated and thrown out of these territories?
President Trump has been slow to claim victory because he has been asking the military to come up with a different plan than President Obama’s, so he could claim the victory under the banner of his own new plan. Military leaders are reluctant to fundamentally change a strategy that appears to be working, according to the Daily Beast, which quoted two US officials and a senior administration official.
In September of 2014, President Obama speaking to the nation from the White House laid out his plan to “degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIS through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy”, at the heart of President Obama’s plan was a new paradigm principle.
No more American Troops
That principle is that America will supply all the weapons, air support, logistical support, military training and money needed to defend and maintain peace in the Middle East, but we will no longer supply troops to fight and die. Countries of the Middle East must supply their own troops willing to die for their own freedom if they won’t why should Americans.
When President Obama first unveiled his plan and the new paradigm shift all the critics said it would be a disaster. That President Obama was raising the flag of surrender and putting the homeland of America at risk, because in order to prevent Isis terrorist from coming to America and carrying out attacks we had to send American troops there to defeat the caliphate.
The Obama administration’s anti-ISIS plan included nine lines of effort, including using diplomatic and economic pressure to reduce ISIS’ ability to sustain its rule and spread its ideology. The Obama White House had already stepped up the number of advisers on the ground in Iraq and Syria, establishing a special operations task force in Iraq with major outposts in Syria to help guide local forces, as part of the larger coalition effort.
Small teams of U.S. forces have embedded with local units and Turkish troops inside Syria, and with Iraqi and Kurdish troops in Iraq to help make them more effective. Special operators have also launched multiple solo raids that have decimated ISIS’ leadership ranks.
Fortunately, Isis has not been able to pull off one single Isis directed attack in America since they declared their now defeated caliphate 3 years ago.
It’s important that President Obama’s paradigm shift be acknowledged, not for Obama legacy reasons, but so that President Trump and others who criticized the new paradigm, can see that it works and the paradigm of send in the kick-ass American military troops is old and obsolete.
The new paradigm shows that American strength can be flexed in non-troop ways, showing the nation and world that there is a better American life-saving way to exert American power. Let’s hope that President Trump puts pride and ego aside and follow the new paradigm, preventing Americans from dying for a foreign country’s freedom and a false sense of homeland security.
Isaac Newton Farris Jr. is the nephew of Martin Luther King, Jr. and serves as Senior Fellow at the King Center. Growing up in one of the most socially and politically active families has given him a unique perspective into current events. Drop by his website for straight talk free of one-sided political spin.
Originally published at isaacnewtonfarris.com on October 18, 2017.