President Donald Trump’s administration is drafting an executive order giving the US military 30 days to devise a new strategy for defeating the Islamic State group, the White House told on Saturday.
A senior administration official told reporters that Trump might sign the order—designed to fulfill one of his main campaign pledges—as early today.
The order is seen as meaning more US forces and military hardware moving into Iraq and Syria.
“We have to get rid of ISIS. We have no choice,” Trump told Fox News in an interview broadcast Thursday, using another acronym for the jihadist group.
“This is evil. This is a level of evil that we haven’t seen.”
Barack Obama took a longer term view of the anti-IS fight, with a more cautious commitment of US forces, instead ramping up an air war against the violent extremists.
“President Trump might be looking for something with quicker results, that could put some more options on the table,” retired lieutenant general David Barno, who led coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005, told National Public Radio on Friday.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump wants the Pentagon to come up with a new set of options for a tougher campaign against IS.
The United States currently has 5,000 troops in Iraq and 500 in Syria as “advisors”—but also US artillery and aircraft to help in the fight.
They have provided substantial support to the assault led by Iraqi forces on Islamic State’s hold on the key city of Mosul.
The slow, steady assault has driven IS fighters out of part of the city on the east bank of the Tigris River, and forces are now preparing an assault on IS-held Mosul neighborhoods on the river’s west bank.
According to reports, an escalation of the US role could involve more US armor and helicopters engaging in the assaults on IS positions together with Iraqi, Turkish and Kurdish forces.
Trump “could elect to put American boots on the ground on larger numbers,” Barno said.
“That all entails new uses of military power... and that opens the prospect of a deeper involvement with more casualties.”