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Trump’s ISIS Strategy in Pieces after Muslim Ban

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

    In a remarkable twist of irony, US President Donald Trump has checkmated himself within days of assuming the helms at the White House by virtue of signing the executive order on Syrian refugees and ban on Muslim entry from seven nations including Iran and Iraq; this order, widely unpopular both at home and abroad, potentially jeopardizes Trump's stated plans to defeat ISIS (Daesh) terrorists.

 To elaborate, in a leaked memorandum, Trump has instructed his subordinates to come up with a new anti-ISIS plan of action in 30 days, asking for the “identification of new coalition partners in the fight against ISIS and policies to empower coalition partners to fight ISIS and its affiliates."  But, Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric and his ban order has so alienated people in the Muslim world that it is now doubly difficult for the US to find Muslim allies in the fight against ISIS.  Even the Iraqis have passed a new measure banning Americans from Iraq, following the footsteps of Iran.  Hence, it appears that Mr. Trump has put the cart before the horse and has rushed to fulfill one of his campaign promises, that can only make the most xenophobic and Islamophobic aspects of American politics happy. 

   As Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has rightly said, Trump's order is a gift to the extremists, who benefit from the growing perception of an anti-Muslim crusader in the White House.  Trump has now overnight created a serious problem of acceptability in the Muslim world, that in fact includes aspects of the West, in light of the petition of over one million people in United Kingdom seeking Trump's exclusion on British soil because of his hateful decision. 

   As a result, having torpedoed his coming anti-ISIS plan with his own ill-timed initiative against Muslims, Trump has shown us the path to a more troubled future, where ISIS through its successful recruitment causes greater havoc in the Middle East and beyond, this while the ability of the anti-ISIS coalition is somewhat diminished due to the strategic fallout from Trump's ban. At a time when ISIS is on the run in both Iraq and Syria, this ironic US move will prove helpful to ISIS's cause and, in turn, raises the question of what exactly is US's true motive?  This is a question worth pondering.

   The answer is, perhaps, to be found in the pre-Trump US's policy, which showed remarkable signs of hypocrisy, with Obama in complicity with the Saudi backers of ISIS.  The past US policy of drawing on chaos as a key variable of decision making is going to likely continue, albeit under the new guise of combating ISIS, when in reality the US is weakening the anti-ISIS coalition by targeting two front line states of Iraq and Iran.  This irony is not lost on either the Iraqis or the Iranians, only to the gullible Americans.

*More by Kaveh L. Afrasiabi:
*Trump's Visa Ban: An Exercise in Iranophobia and Islamophobia: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Trump-s-Visa-Ban-An-exercise-in-Iranophobia-and-Islamophobia.htm
*The Iran Accord and Middle East Modernism: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/The-Iran-Accord-and-Middle-East-Modernism.htm
*Barak Obama and His Diplomatic Legacy: From an Iranian Viewpoint: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Barack-Obama-and-His-Diplomatic-Legacy-From-an-Iranian-viewpoint.htm

*Photo Credit: CNN

*These views represent those of the author and are not necessarily Iran Review's viewpoints.

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