On Monday, January 23, 2017, the White House opened the door for cooperation with any country willing to assist in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria, including Russia. The Trump administration suggested that it could reverse former President Obama's refusal to work with Russia with regard to military action as long as Russia backed the Syrian government. They said that if another country shared the interest in fighting IS then they would accept the help.

Changing the US approach to IS

The White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, said that it would be taking it too far to say right now that the open door would allow coordination with the Syrian President Bashar Assad.

He also said that Trump would be talking with Defense Secretary James Mattis regarding a change in the way that the United States is fighting the Islamic State during a visit to the Pentagon on Friday.

While Obama was concerned with Moscow backing the Syrian government, which he called illegitimate, it seems that the main focus will now be on ousting IS and defeating them. It seems that Russia is ready and willing to create closer military ties with the United States under the Trump administration, and that the Trump administration is willing to move forward, however, not in so eager a fashion. The Russian Ministry of Defense (RMD) announced on Monday that they were provided targeting details by the United States in an effort to have a joint airstrike on IS fighters in Syria, though the Pentagon denied this assertion by Russia.

The chief spokesman for the United States-led coalition in Baghdad, United States Air Force Colonel John Dorrian, said the Russian assertion was rubbish.

Trump's hope

What changes will take place with regard to the approach of the United States in Iraq or Syria has yet to be made clear by the new President, though his campaign speeches show that he hopes to put a quick end to IS.

Trump's feelings about IS were made clear when he spoke of his disdain for the United States not taking control of the oil in Iraq after removing Saddam Hussein from the Presidency there in 2003. The White House Press Secretary said that Trump wants to make sure that if America is going in to a country, that he wants to make sure that America is getting something out of it for its sacrifice and commitment.