In Iraq, for now, the United States is mostly drawing on the existing strategy left behind by President Barack Obama, which is finally showing some good results: There’ll be more blood, but ISIS will soon be out of Mosul, where the Islamist terror group initially showed the world that it’s no “JV team.”
But Trump’s promise was more ambitious, and since the election he instructed the Pentagon to draw new plans to “totally obliterate ISIS.”
And to do that, a deeper US involvement in Syria is needed. As long as the self-declared Islamic State controls Raqqa, Syria, its capital, declaring victory over the terrorist group will sound hollow.
And beating ISIS in Syria’s a bit more complicated, diplomatically and strategically, than doing so in Iraq.
Obama’s refusal to enforce his infamous Syrian “red line” in effect announced the United States would sit out the half-decade civil war there. Others rushed in to fill the vacuum.