7 Moments from Trump’s Speech in Saudi Arabia

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in Saudi Arabia (Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, May 22, 2017:

President Trump’s brazen speech in Saudi Arabia is being praised from (almost) all quarters. Its powerful moments will be remembered for years and will reverberate throughout the Middle East. But no speech is perfect.

Here are seven moments from the speech, starting with what may be the closest President Trump may come to having his “Tear Down This Wall” moment:

  1. It is a choice between two futures – and it is a choice America CANNOT make for you.
    A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. Drive. Them. Out.
     DRIVE THEM OUT of your places of worship.
    DRIVE THEM OUT of your communities.
    DRIVE THEM OUT of your holy land, and
    DRIVE THEM OUT OF THIS EARTH.
    This is strongest statement towards the Muslim world uttered by an American president since 9/11 and perhaps in history. These words—and the Trumpian delivery of them—will be remembered for years to come. While eloquent words favored by speechwriters and high-brow elites are usually forgotten, these won’t be.There are also two clear sub-messages: One, that the Muslim world is not adequately “driving them out,” meaning, the Islamists still thrive in mosques, holy lands (which would include Saudi Arabia) and Muslim communities. The enemy are not fringe, undetectable loners. Secondly, don’t outsource your responsibility for this to America.

    We won’t let you scapegoat us and have us respond by apologizing for the grievances you use to excuse yourself from responsibility. This is your problem: Own it.

  2. Religious leaders must make this absolutely clear: Barbarism will deliver you no glory – piety to evil will bring you no dignity. If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and YOUR SOUL WILL BE CONDEMNED. This is another strike in the ideological war where the Trumpian way of speaking is powerful, especially when you consider how accustomed the Middle East is to the softer diplomatic tone of the West in contrast to the fiery hyperbole that is common place in that part of the world.Trump recognized something crucial: The enemy believes it is pious and is impacted by religious teaching from authoritative figures. It’s not about anger over foreign policy or joblessness or lack of education. It’s about piety and a belief that dying in jihad is a guaranteed ticket to Paradise.
  3. That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires. And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews and the slaughter of Christians.

    Most of the speech used vague, relative terms like “terrorism” and “extremism.” The focus was almost entirely on ISIS and Iran. But then came this paragraph. President Trump identified the enemy not just as Islamist terrorist groups, but the Islamist extremism foundation necessary for those groups to manifest.Of special note is the line about “persecution of Jews.” This was not stated with some moral equivalence about how Israel shares blame for stifling the nationalist aspirations of Palestinians. No, Trump identified anti-Semitism as a central problem outside of the context of Israel. That omission is powerful.The identification of the enemy as Islamist extremism is refreshing, but as Dr. Daniel Pipes points out, “one statement does not a policy make.” Even Obama uttered the word “jihadist” on a few rare occasions.

    The framing of the enemy as Islamism should have been the focal point of the speech, rather than waiting until the middle and the end to use the term. What should have followed was a strategy, with the sticks and carrots, to uproot the sustainers of the ideology so it dissipates into history. A question is left hanging, “Now what? What changes?”

  4. The true toll of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and so many others must be counted not only in the number of dead. It must also be counted in generations of vanished dreams.

    The inclusion of Hamas and Hezbollah in this section is very significant. It wasn’t a call for Hamas and Hezbollah to drop terrorism to achieve their goals, as if they are freedom fighters gone astray.The argument wasn’t that their actions are counterproductive: It was that their very existence has sabotaged a potentially promising future from the people of the Middle East—not just Palestinians and Lebanese, but everyone. Again he framed the issue not as a consequence of Israel, thus negating claims of Hamas and Hezbollah of being “liberation” movements.

  5. The birthplace of civilization is waiting to begin a new renaissance. Just imagine what tomorrow could bring.This is a call for a reformation into modernity (as opposed to the “reformation” offered by the Islamist movements). President Obama acknowledged this necessity—but he did it in an interview, not in a historical speech to the Muslim world from Saudi Arabia.Ideally, Trump would have given a little more time to describe what is holding back this renaissance beyond a generic attribution to “extremism.” He should have taken a queue from Egyptian President El-Sisi and consulted with progressive Muslim reformers.

    Trump called for “gradual change,” but failed to mention freedom, even gradually-granted freedom. His team likely worried that the mention of freedom would be interpreted as a synonym for democracy promotion, but caveats could have addressed that. This renaissance and rolling back of Islamism will require greater political and religious freedom, and acknowledging so does not make one an advocate of hasty destabilizations.

  6. Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.President Obama’s attitude towards Iran unnerved our Sunni Arab partners in the region. The heavy focus on Iran should help address that, but the fixation on the Iranian regime seemed to echo the Saudi line that Iran is responsible for practically all of the terrorism and extremism in the region. This let the Sunni side of radical Islam get off easy.The statement about hoping for a better government for the Iranian people is positive, as it at least welcomes regime change.However, it does not signal an American commitment to regime change in Iran or even regime destabilization. President Trump’s opposition to regime change is clear. To the ears of skeptical Iranians seeking freedom, this will sound like another investment in the hope that the Iranian  “moderates” in the regime can slowly gain support in the theocratic system.
  7. The Sunni governments got off easy.If you listened to the Saudi king’s speech before Trump’s—where he said sharia protects innocent life and promotes peace and tolerance [basically engaging in dawa (proselytizing) to the world] — you’d see that he was one small step from declaring an American-Sunni jihad on Iran. It gave the impression that the Saudis saw the words of the speech as relating to ISIS and Iran alone, not holding them accountable.Based on the way Trump talked about the Saudis, you would have thought they were modern day Minutemen in need of a motivational speech. I shared Dr. Daniel Pipes’ reaction of “gagging” at the praise he gave to King Salman, who is known to have directly financed jihadists.The massive sale of arms to the Saudis was described as “blessed,” as if God’s hand had arranged and approved of the transfer. The Saudis’ opening of a Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology was praised as “groundbreaking,” even though we’ve heard this story over and over and have no details with which to judge it as “groundbreaking” or not. At this point, it’s more like the wolf guarding the hen house.Qatar and Kuwait, two major financiers of Islamist terrorism and extremism, were praised shortly before Trump praised the Gulf Cooperation Council for blocking terror-financing.

Overall, the speech had tremendous moments, with important subtleties that are important to notice. But the speech was not a launch of an ideological war against Islamism. While it was a great call to action, it was not a plan of action. If this speech is to produce concrete results, the declaration of a bold plan of action must soon follow.

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s Shillman Fellow and national security analyst and an adjunct professor of counter-terrorism. He is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. To invite Ryan to speak, please contact us.

Trump in Saudi Arabia: Fight ‘Islamic Terror’ & ‘Drive Them Out’

President Donald Trump delivers a speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit, at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, May 21, 2017:

President Donald Trump delivered the first major foreign policy speech of his tenure Sunday evening in Riyadh, discussing his vision for how America should conduct its international affairs.

America will engage with the world through the lens of a “Principled Realism,” Trump explained, “rooted in common values and shared interests.”

The president delivered on a crucial campaign promise to identify the global jihadist movement as one of the key threats to world stability. Speaking in Saudi Arabia, in front of the leaders of dozens of Muslim nations, Trump called upon the world to “drive out” the “Islamic terror” movements that persist within their countries.

“The true toll of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and so many others, must be counted not only in the number of dead. It must also be counted in generations of vanished dreams,” he proclaimed.

In labeling the enemies of world order as “Islamic” terrorists, he diverted from a final prepared transcript of the finished speech that referenced “Islamist” terrorists. The departure is significant. Defining the enemy as “Islamic” signals a call for reform within the religion, while labeling the enemy as “Islamist” refers to a violent supremacist political ideology.

The president demanded that leaders confront “the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamist and Islamic terror of all kinds.”

“And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians,” he added.

Delivering an impassioned plea to his counterparts in the Muslim world, he argued that “a better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists.”

“Drive. Them. Out!” the president exclaimed. “Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land, and drive them out of this earth.

Marking a departure from the Obama administration’s coziness with Iran, Trump highlighted the threat posed by the Iranian regime and its proxies in Lebanese Hezbollah and the Houthis of Yemen. He called on American allies to isolate the Iranian regime and stop it in its quest for global dominance.

“From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror,” President Trump said. “It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.”

The president called upon “nations of conscience”  to “work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.”

Trump will wrap up his visit to Saudi Arabia this evening and depart for Israel, where he will spend the next two days.

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.

Also see:

Trump to Give ‘Inspiring’ Speech on Islam, ‘Agenda of Tolerance’ in Saudi Arabia

President Trump shakes hands with Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington on March 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, May 16, 2017:

WASHINGTON — President Trump will give a speech on his trip to Saudi Arabia this weekend to convey his “hopes for a peaceful vision of Islam,” National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said today.

Trump flies Friday to the Gulf kingdom as the first stop on his first overseas trip since inauguration. He’ll stay through Sunday before flying to Israel for a day, then will visit Pope Francis on Rome the next day before continuing on to a NATO summit in Brussels and then the G7 summit in Sicily.

Briefing reporters about Trump’s agenda today at the White House, McMaster lauded it as a “historic trip.”

The president will have coffee with King Salman after touching down in Riyadh followed by a royal banquet and bilateral meetings.

The day after he arrives, Trump “will meet and have lunch with leaders of more than 50 Muslim countries where he will deliver an inspiring, yet direct speech on the need to confront radical ideology and his hopes, the president’s hopes for a peaceful vision of Islam to dominate across the world,” McMaster said.

“The speech is intended to unite the broader Muslim world against common enemies of all civilization and to demonstrate America’s commitment to our Muslim partners,” he added.

Trump will “participate in the inauguration of a new center intended to fight radicalism and promote moderation.”

“By establishing and operating this center, our Muslim friends, including Saudi Arabia, are taking a firm stand against extremism and those who use a perverted interpretation of religion to advance their criminal and political agendas,” McMaster continued. “The president also looks forward to participating in a Twitter forum with young people who will be able to live tweet his remarks to people all over the world.”

In Jerusalem, Trump will lay a wreath at Yad Vashem and deliver remarks at the Israeli Museum before having a private dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The next morning the president heads to Bethlehem to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whom he recently welcomed to the White House, to “convey his administration’s eagerness to facilitate an agreement that ends the conflict.”

Trump plans to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and say a prayer at the Western Wall, unaccompanied by any Israeli leaders.

“He’s going to the Western Wall mainly in connection with the theme to connect with three of the world’s great religions and to advance — to pay homage to each of these religious sites that he’s visiting, but also to highlight the theme that we all have to be united against what are really the enemies of all civilized people, and that we have to be joined together in — in a — with an agenda of tolerance and moderation,” McMaster explained.

Israeli Channel 2 reported that a U.S. diplomat planning the trip with Israeli officials said the Western Wall was in Palestinian territory, not Israel. Pressed twice during today’s briefing on whether the Western Wall is part of Israel, McMaster  said, “That sounds like a policy decision.”

“The president’s intention is to visit these religious sites, to highlight the need for unity among three of the world’s great religions: unity in confronting a very grave threat to all civilization, and unity in embracing an agenda of tolerance,” he added.

Also see:

Comey: FBI looking at 2,000 cases of US links to foreign terrorists, 300 are REFUGEES

Refugee Resettlement Watch, by Ann Corcoran, May 9, 2017:

Just when you thought you had had it with FBI Director Comey he admits something that you would never expect a politically-correct Washington insider to reveal.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Wednesday, Director Comey said in response to questioning by Senator Thom Tillis of NC about those being watched by the FBI who are in contact with foreign terrorists (from a transcript published by the WaPo):

Then we have another big group of people that we’re looking at who we see some contact with foreign terrorists. So you take that 2,000 plus cases, about 300 of them are people who came to the United States as refugees.

As far as I know no reporter has mentioned this stunning news.  Mark Krikorian, Director of the Center for Immigration Studies caught it though and published the revelation at National Review Online here yesterday.  Krikorian reminds us that Comey had testified to Congress on more than one occasion where he admitted that there is no way to thoroughly screen refugees from failed states like Syria and Somalia.

Krikorian:

So 15 percent of the FBI’s terrorism cases are refugees – far more than their share of the immigrant population, let alone the general population. And that denominator of 2,000 presumably includes people with no immigration nexus at all – skinheads, antifa, Klan, environmental and animal rights extremists, et al. So the refugee share of immigration-related terrorism investigations is more than 15 percent, perhaps much more.

Krikorian goes on to argue that, except for a few special cases, we should help legitimate refugees where they are in the world and not risk bringing them to your town and mine.

Read all of Krikorian’s post here.

Qatar needs to stop funding Islamists: Dennis Ross

(Photo: Mark Wilson, Getty Images)

Qatar wants to have it both ways — have a U.S. base and fund Muslim Brotherhood.

USA Today, by Dennis Ross, May 8, 2017:

However, allies at a minimum share our interests, support our basic policies, and see common enemies. They don’t give support, especially material support, to those who threaten our interests and the interests and well-being of our friends and partners. By this measure, Qatar is most definitely not an ally. Few countries have done more to promote the Muslim Brotherhood, including its Palestinian offshoot Hamas, than Qatar. The actions of the Muslim Brotherhood may vary from country to country, but it rationalizes attacks against American forces and interests, rejects the very concept of peace with Israel, and promotes religious intolerance.  During Pope Francis’s visit to Egypt, Samuel Tadros points out that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Alexandria account tweeted: “The Pope of Terrorism, he came to end what remains of Islam.”

That tweet is in keeping with the mindset and beliefs of the Brotherhood-affiliated preacher, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who resides in Qatar and conveys his views on a weekly show on the network Al Jazeera. Qaradawi, who is anti-American and considers all attacks against Israeli civilians to be legitimate, is especially pernicious because his weekly guidance on how to live as a good Muslim has produced a large following in the region. Al Jazeera is subsidized by the government of Qatar and has long given a platform not just to Qaradawi, but to those who favor the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists more generally. True, it has others appear who argue against these views, but by legitimizing extremist, intolerant beliefs, giving them equal standing with others, and allowing their constant repetition, it lends credence to them.

Unfortunately, it is not only through the soft power of Al Jazeera that Qatar promotes radical Islamists. In both Libya and Syria, Qatar provided money and material not to the more secular forces but to the Islamist fighters. Indeed, when I was in the Obama administration in 2011 and we sought to get the Qataris to coordinate with us and to be transparent about where and to whom they were sending arms in Libya, we rarely got straight answers. And, consistently, we found that they sent weapons to the Islamist forces, the very militias we were opposed to getting arms. The same pattern has been followed in Syria.

How can one account for Qatar’s behavior? Qatar is a very small country that has ambitions to play a larger out-sized role in the region and beyond — and it has used it natural gas and oil wealth combined with a tiny population — to use its money to build influence. While some may say it has used its money to buy off Islamists so they will not cause a problem in Qatar, the Qataris prefer to present themselves as playing a bridge-building role between the Islamists and the West. That argument might be more convincing if there were any evidence that Qatar used its position to moderate the behavior of the Brotherhood or other radical Islamists. But there is no real sign of that.

Instead, what one sees is that Qatar appears to want to have it both ways. Preserve its ties to us and to the Islamists — keep the U.S. base in Qatar as a way of ensuring an American stake in Qatar’s security and deterrent against more overt threats to the country and preserve the ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and like-minded groups; bring in American universities to establish campuses and highlight the investment in western-oriented education and values even as it continues to underwrite Al Jazeera and its role in spreading a narrative that challenges those very values.

Qatar can only have it both ways so long as we permit it. Qatar’s leaders clearly want the American security connection. Trump should make it clear to them that they will have it so long as they are not threatening our interests and those of our partners in the region. As important as the al-Udeid base is, the Qataris should know we have alternatives and are prepared to develop them in the UAE and elsewhere unless Qatar is prepared to be a genuine partner and not a party that contributes to the very threats we need to counter.

Former Ambassador Dennis Ross is counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and served in senior national security positions in the Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations. His most recent book is Doomed to Succeed: The US-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama.

Remedial ISIS Tutorial Steers Jihadists Toward Heavier, Deadlier Truck Attacks

A stolen beer truck crashed into an Ahlens department store in Stockholm in a possible terror attack April 7, 2017. (Rex Features via AP Images)

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, May 5, 2017:

The Islamic State just published a remedial step-by-step pictorial for lone jihadists on how to use a heavy vehicle to kill, walking would-be terrorists through how to acquire a vehicle and which targets to strike.

ISIS’ monthly Rumiyah magazine, which publishes online in 10 languages including English, last covered vehicle attacks in their November issue “Just Terror Tactics” segment, using Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, who plowed a cargo truck through a crowd of Bastille Day revelers in Nice, France, last summer, as their key example.

In that article, ISIS encouraged shying away from budget sedans and “off-roaders, SUVs, and four-wheel drive vehicles” that “lack the necessary attributes required for causing a blood bath” as “smaller vehicles lack the weight and wheel span required for crushing many victims.” They recommended trucks with double wheels for “giving victims less of a chance to escape being crushed by the vehicle’s tires.” Long semi trucks were discouraged because of the possibility of jack-knifing.

The terror group encouraged jihadists to find a vehicle with a “metal outer frame which are usually found in older cars, as the stronger outer frame allows for more damage to be caused when the vehicle is slammed into crowds, contrary to newer cars that are usually made of plastics and other weaker materials.” A picture of a U-Haul truck was shown with the caption “an affordable weapon.” A picture of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade was shown with the words “an excellent target.”

Shortly after the article was published, a ram-and-stab attack by Ohio State student Abdul Razak Ali Artan on a sidewalk full of students and faculty caused several injuries, but no fatalities. He used a silver sedan in the attack.

In December, Anis Amri hijacked a Polish semi truck and killed the driver, then plowed the big rig into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 11.

This March, Khalid Masood rented the Hyundai Tuscon he used to run over five pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before crashing into the palace fence and stabbing a police officer. Last month, Rakhmot Akilov stole a beer truck and drove it down a busy Stockholm shopping street, killing four.

Eager to build on those attacks no matter the IQ of the jihadist, ISIS this week published the how-to with pictures — trying to steer terrorists toward vehicles more like Berlin and Stockholm.

“The ideal vehicle,” says the page, has a “slightly raised chassis and bumper,” is a “double-wheeled, load-bearing truck” that “large in size, heavy in weight” and is “fast in speed or rate of acceleration.”

Then comes the very remedial lesson on where to get the attack vehicle (“kafir” means disbeliever, while “murtadd” means apostate Muslim):

(From ISIS’ Rumiyah magazine)

The suggestions for ideal targets also illustrates examples. Corresponding to “large outdoor festivals, conventions, celebrations, and parades” is a photo of an LGBT event.

A busy London street next to an Underground stop is shown as the “pedestrian-congested streets” example. After “outdoor markets,” ISIS suggests “outdoor rallies,” and uses a photo of a 2012 May Day rally in Paris.

(From ISIS’ Rumiyah magazine)

After the Ohio State attack in which no one suffered life-threatening wounds, ISIS published a similar remedial pictorial telling lone jihadists how to go on stabbing sprees.

In the December issue of Rumiyah, ISIS told knife jihadists to aim for the neck, chest or stomach and to pick a suitable blade while not choosing targets above their skill level.

***

TSA Warns Trucking Companies of ‘Truck-Ramming’ Terrorism Threat

Reuters: Trump counterterrorism strategy urges allies to do more

U.S. President Donald Trump (C) gathers with Congressional Republicans in the Rose Garden of the White House after the House of Representatives approved the American Healthcare Act, to repeal major parts of Obamacare and replace it with the Republican healthcare plan, in… REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Reuters, by Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel, May 5, 2017:

A draft of President Donald Trump’s new counterterrorism strategy demands that U.S. allies shoulder more of the burden in combating Islamist militants, while acknowledging that the scourge will never be totally eliminated.

The 11-page draft, seen on Friday by Reuters, said the United States should avoid costly, “open-ended” military commitments.

“We need to intensify operations against global jihadist groups while also reducing the costs of American ‘blood and treasure’ in pursuit of our counterterrorism goals,” states the document, which is expected to be released in coming months.

“We will seek to avoid costly, large-scale U.S. military interventions to achieve counterterrorism objectives and will increasingly look to partners to share the responsibility for countering terrorist groups,” it says.

However, it acknowledges that terrorism “cannot be defeated with any sort of finality.”

Michael Anton, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said, “As part of its overall approach, the administration is taking a fresh look at the entire U.S. national security strategy, to include the counterterrorism mission – which is especially important since no such strategy has been produced publicly since 2011.”

The process is aimed at ensuring “the new strategy is directed against the pre-eminent terrorist threats to our nation, our citizens, our interests overseas and allies,” Anton said. “Moreover, this new strategy will highlight achievable and realistic goals, and guiding principles.”

Combating Islamic extremism was a major issue for Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. The draft strategy paper, which officials said was still being fine-tuned at the White House, describes the threat from Islamic militant groups in stark tones.

It remains to be seen how Trump can square his goal of avoiding military interventions with ongoing conflicts involving U.S. troops in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere.

Rather than scale back U.S. commitments, he has so far largely adhered to former Obama administration plans to intensify military operations against militant groups and granted the Pentagon greater authority to strike them in places like Yemen and Somalia.

Trump may soon reverse years of Obama-ordered drawdowns in Afghanistan. His administration is now considering boosting by 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers the 8,400-strong U.S. contingent helping Afghan forces fight a resurgent Taliban, current and former U.S. officials say.

A senior administration official noted that only a small number of troops have been added to U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria under Trump, at the discretion of his military commanders.

“If you do see additions elsewhere, they will be in keeping with this (draft) strategy,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The increased pace of U.S. military operations has seen a recent spate of American casualties. The latest came in Somalia, where a Navy SEAL died and two others were wounded in an attack by al Shabaab militants, U.S. officials said on Friday.

Since President Barack Obama released the last U.S. counterterrorism strategy in 2011 before the emergence of Islamic State, the threat has “diversified in size, scope and complexity from what we faced just a few years ago,” the draft strategy said.

In addition to Islamic State, the United States and its allies are endangered by a reconstituted al Qaeda, groups such as the Haqqani network and Hezbollah, as well as from homegrown extremists radicalized online, it said.

Bruce Hoffman, director of Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies and who reviewed the document at Reuters’ request, said the draft strategy “paints – and I think accurately – a more dire picture” of the threat than the Obama document, which sounded a “triumphalist” tone following al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s death in a 2011 U.S. raid in Pakistan.

MISSING PHRASE

The senior administration official said the document describing an overarching counterterrorism approach is separate from a detailed strategy to defeat Islamic State that Trump also has ordered.

The draft strategy seen by Reuters appears to flow from Trump’s “America First” foreign policy calling for foreign aid cuts and more burden-sharing by allies and alliances such as NATO.

It does not include a signature phrase from Trump’s 2016 campaign, “radical Islamic terrorism.” Instead, it says that jihadist groups “have merged under a global jihadist ideology that seeks to establish a transnational Islamic caliphate that fosters conflict on a global scale.”

The draft’s first guiding principle is that the United States “will always act to disrupt, prevent and respond to terrorist attacks against our nation, our citizens, our interests overseas and our allies. This includes taking direct and unilateral action, if necessary.”

The administration would boost U.S. homeland security by working with allies and partners to eliminate terrorist leaders, “ideologues, technical experts, financiers, external operators and battlefield commanders.”

The draft also calls for denying militants physical and online sanctuaries in which to plan and launch attacks and “degrade their efforts to develop and deploy” chemical and biological weapons.

Yet it provides few details on how the United States, which has led global counterterrorism efforts since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, can achieve those goals by passing more of the burden to other countries, many of which lack the requisite military and intelligence capabilities.

The draft makes little mention of promoting human rights, development, good governance and other “soft power” tools that Washington has embraced in the past to help foreign governments reduce grievances that feed extremism.

In contrast, the Obama counterterrorism strategy made “respecting human rights, fostering good governance, respecting privacy and civil liberties, committing to security and transparency and upholding the rule of law” the foremost of its guiding principles.

“Soft power has a role to play, but not to the exclusion of kinetics,” or military action, said Hoffman. He called the draft “a very sober depiction of the threat and what is needed now and in the immediate future to counter it.”