Pentagon Mulls Sending Troops to Syria

Armed men in uniform identified by Syrian Democratic forces as US special operations forces walk in the village of Fatisah in the northern Syrian province of Raqa on May 25, 2016

 

The US will consider “a full range of options,” and has consistently resisted ruling out the use of ground forces in the fight against Daesh, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, remarked on Thursday.

“I’m in the business of providing the president with options,” Dunford said. US President Donald Trump instructed senior military officials to provide an overview of ways the US can eliminate the threat of Daesh terrorism within the first 30 days of his administration, and that time is almost up. “Providing the president with options” was Dunford’s go-to talking point, used repeatedly during a recent Brookings Institution event in Washington DC when pressed on whether conventional ground forces would be included in the strategy to defeat Daesh terrorists, McClatchy reported.

“For those of us, for those of you, who have fought the wars of the 21st century in the Middle East, one lesson stands out,” said Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow at Brookings. “Any tactical military success in the absence of a strong political foundation may not be permanent.”

“This plan is a political, military plan,” and not only a military plan, he said. “We realize that anything done on the ground [in the Middle East] has to be done in the context of political objectives,” the Marine general said.

The ‘options’ Dunford and the other joint chiefs of staff could target include al Qaeda and other “violent extremist groups as well.”

Trump previously expressed support for “safe zones” in Syria during his first week as president, a tactic entailing troop deployment.

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