How the war of annihilation against ISIS is working
President Trump’s war of annihilation against the Islamic State played out this spring in the Syrian town of Tabqa, a critical prize in the ongoing final march to Raqqa.The mainstream media still does not get it. It is claiming it is the same strategy as that used by Obama. but getting rid of the micro-management by amateurs allows the military to move swiftly to seize opportunities and destroy the enemy quickly. There has also been an increase in air attacks against ISIS which has led to the "sudden" collapse of their fighters and they have also had no breathing room to regather their efforts.
Defense Secretary James Mattis announced the annihilation strategy in mid-May, but before that commanders in Iraq and Syria got the go-ahead to fight ISIS, as the Pentagon calls the terrorist army, Trump-style.
Under President Obama, U.S. Army Special Forces assigned to Syrian Democratic Forces needed special approval from Washington for virtually all tactical moves amid the politically complex theater of Americans, Arabs, Kurds, Turks and Syrians.
In Tabqa, where the town itself, its dam and its airfield were the objectives, the Green Berets decided they needed an airlift. Suddenly minus red tape, Arabs, Kurds and Americans were helicoptering into battle, and they quickly seized territory.
Under Mr. Obama, Islamic State terrorists could at times retreat from towns, immune from airstrikes if they used civilians as cover. The battle for Manbij in August became infamous when the SDF let 200 Islamic State fighters turn in their weapons and escape because they had threatened to kill town residents if they were not allowed to run away.
The new Trump strategy calls for surrounding towns, as opposed to pushing from one end or one side to another, in order to isolate Islamic State fighters and annihilate them.
Brett H. McGurk, special U.S. envoy to the coalition against the Islamic State who performed the same role for Mr. Obama, talked of “the delegations of authority which has made a difference in terms of the speed of execution. I think Tabqa was an example of that.”
“Our military people on the ground saw an opportunity to kind of surprise ISIS with a helicopter, moving them by helicopter, surprise them from behind and seize the airport, the dam and the town,” Mr. McGurk later told reporters at the Pentagon.
After Tabqa’s liberation, Mr. McGurk spoke to the city’s mayor, who gave a brief description of the war of annihilation.
“He also said he believes that most of these foreign fighters are now dead,” the diplomat said.
Mr. Mattis said: “No longer will we have slowed decision cycles because Washington, D.C., has to authorize tactical movements. I’ll leave that to the generals who know how to do those kind of things. We don’t direct that from here. They know our intent is the foreign fighters do not get out. I leave it to their skill, their cunning, to carry that out.”