In an interview with Breaking Defense, Gen. Joe Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signaled that General Mattis is abandoning the Obama strategy of just “pushing” ISIS around, ordering his commanders to instead “annihilate” the enemy.
Dunford was asked “Is the United States’ “annihilation” battle plan in Iraq and Syria that you’ve spoken of also designed to contain the foreign fighter threat?” He responded (emphasis added):
Yes. When Secretary Mattis looked at our anti-ISIS campaign, he concluded that in some instances we were essentially just pushing the enemy from one location to another. He asked me and the military chain-of-command to make a conscious effort not to allow ISIS fighters to just flee from one location to another, but rather to deliberately seek to ‘annihilate’ the enemy. That was the commander’s intent, and our commanders on the ground have tried to meet that goal of annihilating the enemy in order to mitigate the risk of these terrorists showing up someplace else.
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