Trump expressed both a desire to eliminate ISIS and concern for the lives lost in Syria, which means it’s likely he’ll take action with 5th Special Forces Group and JSOC.

The President-elect Donald Trump made comments vowing to set up ‘safe zones’ in Syria. He made the comments in acknowledgment of the humanitarian crisis in Syria. But – it looks to be late to take action. In order to establish ‘safe zones’ the United Nations would have to be involved. Unfortunately, the Syrian regime forces are claiming to more or less have completely cleared and own Aleppo. Whatever the truth – Safe zones are no longer an option that would reap real benefit. In addition, the President-elect recently mentioned the Green Berets and hinted that their role may be increased. Members of Congress and Special Operators themselves are skeptical of the feasibility of increasing an already tiresome optempo.

However, an effort might be necessary, regardless. If the UN and, for example, Russian forces are used jointly – the burden will be less and the combat more clean. But if we go it alone, we’ll have an all-out campaign to go after ISIL that will take a many years. That campaign will, in a positive way, create new tactics and methods to adapt to a new fifth generation of warfare.

Unfortunately, it’s more than the optempo that ought to concern most – it’s a question of utilization. The SOF footprint is growing and the optempo is high – but the mission is more hollow than it was during the Iraq War timeframe. The disenchantment with the UN is widening US relations with the rest of the participating nations. It’s unknown what effect this will have on our ability to execute foreign policy abroad. However, it makes an ISIS solution more costly and time consuming. Because the UN, for better or worse, has power and influence to get other nations to take part in a threat that is truly global and universal.

PEOTUS Trump has, like so many others, expressed concern for the innocent civilians in Syria. But, it’s obvious now to many that much of the fighting might have met its peak. Russian and Syrian forces carried out an onslaught and it won a somewhat decisive victory. As decisive as they get in this conflict, anyway. What does that mean moving forward? That the power broker is Assad via Putin or Putin via Assad, with a sprinkle of Iran tossed in there. Either way, 5th Special Forces Group will be tapped to work by, with, and through Rebel, Turkish, and other partners to get the job done and go after ISIL. But, ISIL is an army and they’re entrenched within the population. Moreover, we haven’t tested the ultimate limits of the sunni population when more foreign invaders enter their land. Will they, to their own detriment, turn to ISIL for protection in fear of the return of the Ottomans?

It would seem, on paper, retaining the UN and using the organization to create a communal agreement to jointly clear the lands ISIS occupies is the most official and legal, internationally-minded, method into the future. But, this president might deal direct with the stakeholders, which would be an extremely bold and daring move that could work. It could also not work. But, unfortunately, no matter what is done, the political and ethnic tensions in the Middle East aren’t going to dissipate anytime in this or the next generation. These problems are here to stay and will continue to present themselves in different fashions.

Featured image courtesy of CNN