Carter Confident Trump Will Maintain U.S. Role Leading Anti-Isis Coalition
Praising the coalition against Islamic State (ISIS) as strong, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Thursday (December 15) said he was confident that President-Elect Donald Trump's new administration will maintain America's leading role in the fight against ISIS, also known as ISIL and Daesh.
Carter was speaking at a joint news conference with British Defence Minister Michael Fallon, after the pair hosted a meeting of their counterparts from the "Global Coalition Against Daesh" in London.
"I will share my lessons learned with my successor at the appropriate time, detailing the logic of our campaign plan and the strategic approach and how we are seeing results on the ground. And among my recommendations will be the need for the United States to remain actively engaged as leader of this coalition to ensure that we deliver ISIL a lasting defeat and continue to protect our homelands. Our coalition can and I am confident we will finish this job together," said Carter.
Donald Trump has chosen James Mattis to be his Defense Secretary.
Mattis is a retired Marine general known for his tough talk, distrust of Iran and battlefield experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. A former leader of Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East and South Asia, Mattis, is known by many U.S. forces by his nickname "Mad Dog." He was once rebuked for saying in 2005: "It's fun to shoot some people."
Carter said he saw no reason for Mattis to want to reduce America's role within the coalition of 68 nations.
"I can't give assurances, I can't speak for the next administration. However, I do have confidence in the future of the coalition campaign. It's logical. It makes sense. And therefore I expect that logic will recommend itself to the future leadership of the United States… as it's recommended itself to the current leadership," said Carter.
Fallon said people should ignore any comments Trump made before he was elected and put them down to "campaign rhetoric".
"This is a global threat and I have no doubt that the next U.S. administration will step up to its traditional role of global leadership," said the British defense minister.
The coalition meets quarterly and reviews progress on the cooperation between member states against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria.
The operation to evacuate thousands of civilians and fighters from the last rebel bastion in Aleppo began on Thursday, part of a ceasefire deal that would end years of fighting for the city and mark a major victory for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
But Fallon said there was no future for Assad in Syria.
"We don't see a future for President Assad in Syria, even if he defeats the opposition in Aleppo. There is no victory in bombing hospitals, in restricting humanitarian aid and ending up in a country that you only control 40 percent of and is half destroyed with millions dispersed and hundreds of thousands killed. That is no victory. We don't see a future for Syria with President Assad, on the contrary," he said.