President Trump’s White House has reportedly scrapped the previous administration’s plan to take Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) self-declared caliphate.
According to a report by The Washington Post, the Trump administration quickly dismissed the detailed plan established by President Obama and instructed Defense Secretary James Mattis alongside top Pentagon officials to present other strategic options within the next 30 days.
“They provided the information, but we found huge gaps in it,” a senior Trump administration official said. “It was poor staff work.”
The report notes that Obama’s plan took more than half a year to develop and contained restraints on civilian casualties and troop numbers in the northeast Syrian city.
The plan proposed a strategy of training Kurdish forces, providing them with new equipment, and helping them retake the city.
“The message to the Pentagon was to widen the aperture,” a senior administration official told the Post. “Give us all of your options.”
According to the report, the Trump administration also disliked Obama’s plan due to a lack of specifics on the number of troops needed for the operation and lack of a strategy to cooperate with Russia.
Moreover, the administration was dissatisfied with the political strategy to address Turkey, a country that would be angered by the U.S. cooperation with the Kurds, and the lack of an alternative plan in case the Kurdish offensive failed.
“What bothered us most of all was that there was no plan B,” the official said.
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SOURCE: The Hill – Nikita Vadimirov