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Specific elements of strategies to take on ISIS offered by a selection of 2016 presidential candidates

Hillary Clinton

1. A more effective coalition air campaign, with more allied planes, more strikes and a broader target set.
2. An immediate intelligence surge in the region, including technical assets, Arabic speakers with deep expertise in the Middle East and even closer partnership with regional intelligence services.
3. Airstrikes will have to be combined with ground forces actually taking back more territory from ISIS.
4. Sustained pressure on the government in Baghdad to get its political house in order, move forward with national reconciliation, and finally stand up a national guard. Baghdad needs to accept, even embrace, arming Sunni and Kurdish forces in the war against ISIS. But if Baghdad won’t do that, the coalition should do so directly.
5. Move simultaneously toward a political solution to the (Syrian) civil war that paves the way for a new government with new leadership,
6. Deploy special operations forces.
7. Increase support from our Arab and European partners.
8. Work with the coalition and the neighbors to impose no-fly zones that will stop (Syria’s Bashar al-) Assad from slaughtering civilians and the opposition from the air.
9. We must get (our Arab and Turkish partners) to carry their share of the burden, with military intelligence and financial contributions, as well as using their influence with fighters and tribes in Iraq and Syria.
10. Cooperation with Israel, including intelligence.
11. Congress should swiftly pass an updated authorization to use military force.
12. Better coordination and information-sharing among countries every step of the way. We should not stop pressing until Turkey, where most foreign fighters cross into Syria, finally locks down its border.
13. More obligations on countries to police their own banks.
14. The Saudis, the Qataris and others need to stop their citizens from directly funding extremist organizations as well as the schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path to radicalization.
15. Identify the hotspots, the specific neighborhoods and villages, the prisons and schools where recruitment happens in clusters, like the neighborhood in Brussels where the Paris attacks were planned.
16. Do a better job contesting online space.
17. Join with our partners to do the patient’s steady work of empowering moderates and marginalizing extremists; supporting democratic institutions and the rule of law; creating economic growth that supports stability; working to curb corruption, helping training effective and accountable law enforcement, intelligence and counterterrorism services.
18. Greater global cooperation to lock down loose nuclear material and chemical and biological weapons and keep them out of the hands of terrorists.
19. Targeted strikes by U.S. military aircraft and drones.
20. The United States must work with Europe to dramatically and immediately improve intelligence sharing and counterterrorism coordination.
21. As terrorists develop new devices like nonmetallic bombs, our defenses have to stay at least one step ahead.
22. We need Silicon Valley not to view government as its adversary. We need to challenge our best minds in the private sector to work with our best minds in the public sector to develop solutions that will both keep us safe and protect our privacy.
23. Make sure the necessary resources are provided for comprehensive background checks of those coming from overseas.
24. We should be doing more to ease this humanitarian crisis, not less. We should lead the international community in organizing a donor conference and supporting countries like Jordan who are sheltering the majority of refugees fleeing Syria.

Jeb Bush

1. We need to broaden and expedite our efforts to help ensure Iraqis rebuild their security sector – not only to win against ISIS, but to break free of Iranian influence. And that effort should also involve even greater engagement with the Sunni tribes.
2. We must give these forces the consistent advantage of American air power, to cover their operations and to strike with fierce precision.
3. We must make better use of the limited forces we have by giving them a greater range of action.
4. We should provide more support to the Kurds.
5. Our strategy in Iraq has to restart the serious diplomatic efforts that can help that country move in the right direction.
6. A coordinated, international effort is essential to give Syria’s moderate forces the upper hand.
7. We have to expand and vastly improve the recruitment and training of Syrian forces fighting ISIS.
8. We must over time establish multiple safe zones in Syria.
9. We and our partners should declare a no-fly zone in Syria.

Bernie Sanders

1. The acknowledgment that unilateral military action should be a last resort, not a first resort, and that ill-conceived military decisions, such as the invasion of Iraq, can wreak far-reaching devastation and destabilize entire regions for decades.
2. We must create an organization like NATO to confront the security threats of the 21st century – an organization that emphasizes cooperation and collaboration to defeat the rise of violent extremism and importantly to address the root causes underlying these brutal acts. We must work with our NATO partners, and expand our coalition to include Russia and members of the Arab League.
3. Seal the borders that fighters are currently flowing across
4. Share counter-terrorism intelligence
5. Turn off the spigot of terrorist financing
6. End support for exporting radical ideologies.
7. Countries in the region like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE – countries of enormous wealth and resources – have contributed far too little in the fight against ISIS. That must change.

Marco Rubio

1. Build a multinational coalition of countries willing to send troops into Iraq and Syria with embedded U.S. forces and U.S. logistical and intelligence support to aid local fighters on the ground in destroying ISIS safe havens.
2. Expand airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, deploying forward air controllers to call in air support.
3. Develop a plan to oust Bashar al-Assad from power, including ramping up training of Syrian rebels to fight both Assad and ISIS and to establish safe zones within Syria.
4. Provide arms directly to Sunni tribal and Kurdish forces if Baghdad fails to support them.
5. Counter ISIS recruitment and propaganda by broadcasting U.S. victories, showing the world that ISIS is not invincible.
6. Work with Baghdad to increase Sunni inclusion and autonomy for the provinces.
7. Push back against Iranian influence in Iraq, which only stokes further conflict.
8. Coordinate with regional allies to plan for Assad’s fall.
9. Advocate on behalf of and protect ethnic and religious minorities throughout the region.
10. Enhance military and diplomatic efforts to prevent ISIS from further entrenching itself in Afghanistan and Libya, as well as take action to ensure ISIS does not spread to countries such as Jordan.
11. Target ISIS’s financial reserves with sanctions and asset freezes and continue to undermine ISIS’s attempts to exploit oil resources.
12. Engage in global ideological pushback by exposing ISIS’s war crimes and sex trafficking and recruiting disaffected former members to tell their stories.
13. Work with regional partners to prevent foreign jihadists from traveling between their homes and the battlefields.
14. Strengthen U.S. intelligence capabilities to ensure that the U.S. government has the capabilities to track terrorists plotting attacks inside the United States.
15. Boost domestic efforts to detect potential “lone wolf” attackers.
16. Increase efforts to counter ISIS propaganda and recruitment of individuals inside the United States.
17. Halt new admissions of refugees from Iraq and Syria, until they can be vetted effectively enough to filter out terrorist infiltrators.
18. Enhance the security screening required of travelers coming to the U.S. through the Visa Waiver Program.

John Kasich

1. We must invoke Article 5, the mutual defense clause of the North American Treaty, and bring NATO together to assist our ally France in its defense.
2. We must intensify international intelligence cooperation by identifying, exchanging information on, tracking and – if necessary – arresting the thousands of foreign volunteers currently fighting with ISIS who then later return to their home countries.
3. We must develop new Signals Intelligence methods to illuminate these targets technologically.
4. We must also invest more in human Intelligence assets with which to penetrate and neutralize these terrorist groups.
5. We also need to reassess our domestic counterterrorism resources to ensure that our Joint FBI-CIA Counterterrorism Task Forces have the personnel they need to track potential domestic terrorists.
6. We must provide far more support to the Kurds – both in Syria and Iraq.
7. Turkey has legitimate concerns about arming the Kurdish YPK in Syria. We must work to address their concerns as we insist on addressing a threat to the vital national interests of America and the rest of the world.
8. We must create safe havens protected by no-fly zones.
9. We must arrest human traffickers, prosecute them, put them in jail, and confiscate their ill-gotten gains.
10. We must create an international coalition to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
11. We must be more forceful in the battle of ideas. U.S. Public Diplomacy and International Broadcasting have lost their focus on the case for Western values and ideals and effectively countering our opponents' propaganda and disinformation.

Martin O’Malley

1. In confronting ISIS, we must avoid mission creep—and be mindful that American boots on the ground can be counter-productive to our desired outcome.
2. We must also ensure that our partners have what they need to contain, degrade, and ultimately defeat ISIS.
3. In partnership with other nations in the region and across the world, we must counter ISIS propaganda and use our own communications tools more effectively.
4. We must make every effort to encourage the Iraqi government to govern more inclusively, as they train up a new army with committed leadership, and a will to defend their own country.
5. We need to know in advance who is likely to take power—or vie for it—once a dictator is toppled.
6. We must recruit and retain a new generation of talented American diplomats.

Ben Carson

1. Congress should immediately issue a formal declaration of war on the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIL or ISIS.
2. The United States should lead the immediate formation of – and provide substantial advisory, financial and military support to – a military coalition in the Middle East to wage war against ISIS. Such a regional coalition would consist of countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
3. The United States should urge its allies and partners in the Middle East to engage in massive recruitment and training of Sunni Syrian men based in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf and of Sunni Syrian male refugees in Jordan – to establish a military force to destroy ISIS and to establish a protection zone for the victims of the terrorist state.
4. The United States should deploy its military resources and work with moderate Arab nations – as well as extend strategic support to Kurdish, Christian and Sunni tribes in the free al-Hasakah Province in northeast Syria – to establish a refugee safe zone in the Province. All refugees should be directed to that free area and to other liberated areas later, and be put under international protection.
5. Congress should immediately establish a war-time emergency visa and immigration policy; establish an emergency inter-agency task force to review all visa and immigration policies; and limit visitor visas to three months with mandatory check-ins for extensions no longer than three months.
6. President Barack Obama and Congress should immediately deploy the National Guard and military troops to patrol the U.S. southern border as well as designated spots along the northern border.
7. The Department of State should designate the Muslim Brotherhood and other organizations that propagate or support Islamic terrorism as terrorist organizations, and fully investigate the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and a supporter of terrorism.

Carly Fiorina

1. I will discuss with our Arab allies how we can support them in their fight against ISIS.
2. We will arm the Kurds.
3. I will provide King Abdullah with the bombs and materiel he has requested.
4. I will share intelligence with the Egyptians as they have requested.
5. I will make a promise to our friends in the Middle East to train their troops to fight ISIS.