Donald Trump’s Defence Secretary nominee Gen (retd) James Mattis has called for combating the Islamic State through an ‘integrated strategy’ that goes after the terror group’s recruiting and fund-raising besides delivering a military blow to them in the Middle East. “I think we have to deliberate a very hard blow against ISIS in the Middle East, so that there is no sense of invulnerability or invincibility there. There has got to be a military defeat of them there, but there must be a much broader approach,” Mattis told lawmakers during his confirmation hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“This requires an integrated strategy so you don’t squeeze them in one place and they develop in another and we are really right back to square one,” he said. “We’ve to have the integrated strategy on this, and it’s got to be one that goes after the recruiting and their fund-raising as well as the delivering a military blow against them in the Middle East. That way you slow down this growth and start to rolling it back by and with and through allies,” Mattis said.
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Mattis was responding to a question from Senator Joni Ernest, who said that the Middle East region will inevitably remain a major focal point when talking about “Islamic extremism”. “However, I do believe that we need to look at other regions around the globe and we cannot turn a blind eye to ISIS in regions outside of the Middle East such as in Southeast Asia,” he said.
In 2015, Mattis authored a piece titled “Using Military Force against ISIS” in which he said that a strong authorisation to use military force supported by a majority of both parties in both houses of Congress will send an “essential message” of American steadfastness to its people and to the global audience. Its passage will demonstrate America’s fundamental unity and enable a broader commitment to deal firmly with the real and growing menace, he said. Responding to a question, Mattis said this was still his opinion.