Obama To Announce Game Plan Against ISIS


obama west point speechPresident Barack Obama said he will explain to Americans and congressional leaders this week his plan to “start going on some offense” against Islamic State militants, who he said could eventually become a threat to the United States.

Obama will make a speech on Wednesday to “describe what our game plan’s going to be,” and meet congressional leaders on Tuesday to seek their support for his strategy to halt the militant Islamist group, which controls parts of Syria and Iraq.

The president, who campaigned on getting U.S. troops out of Iraq, has struggled to articulate how he wants to address Islamic State, telling reporters last month that “we don’t have a strategy yet” to tackle the group.

“I just want the American people to understand the nature of the threat and how we’re going to deal with it and to have confidence that we’ll be able to deal with it,” Obama said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that aired on Sunday. The interview was conducted in Washington on Saturday.

“The next phase is now to start going on some offense,” he said.

The Wednesday speech will come a day ahead of the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when al Qaeda militants flew hijacked planes into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon, killing almost 3,000 people.

“I want everybody to understand that we have not seen any immediate intelligence about threats to the homeland” from the Islamic State group, Obama said.

But the group has attracted foreign fighters from Western nations who could travel to the United States “unimpeded,” Obama said. “Over time, that can be a serious threat to the homeland,” he said.

In an interview earlier this year, Obama had put the group in a category of foreign militant movements that were a minor threat, comparing it to a “JV”, or junior varsity, team. But he told NBC the group had grown. “They’re not a JV team,” he said.


He ruled out sending U.S. ground troops to fight in Iraq or Syria, saying “this is not the equivalent of the Iraq war,” and described the coalition he spent time building last week at a NATO meeting in Wales.

This is going to be “similar to the kinds of counterterrorism campaigns that we’ve been engaging in consistently over the last five, six, seven years,” Obama said.

“We are going to be a part of an international coalition, carrying out air strikes in support of work on the ground by Iraqi troops, Kurdish troops,” Obama said. Nine other countries have agreed to be “core” members of the coalition.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are engaged in a mission in the region to flesh out the plan. “We are going to systematically degrade their capabilities. We’re going to shrink the territory that they control. And ultimately we’re going to defeat ’em,” Obama said.

In the interview, Obama did not say whether he would authorize air strikes in Syria. “The strategy both for Iraq and for Syria is that we will hunt down ISIL members and assets wherever they are,” he said, using an acronym for the Islamic State.

He emphasized the United States would need Sunni Arab states in the region including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey to “step up” and help.

“I think, for … perhaps the first time, you have absolute clarity that the problem for Sunni states in the region, many of whom are our allies, is not simply Iran. It’s not simply a Sunni-Shia issue,” he said. Iran is a Shiite-dominated country.

Obama wants regional allies to help win over and work with disaffected Sunni tribes in Iraq – an effort he said could include an “economic element.”

Obama has faced criticism for appearing disengaged on the Iraq crisis, particularly after he played a round of golf minutes after speaking about the beheading of American journalist James Foley by Islamic State militants.

Obama told NBC he wished he could get “a vacation from the press” but admitted the golf game was a bad decision.

“I should’ve anticipated the optics,” he said, explaining the “theater” involved with being president is “not something that always come naturally to me.”




5 responses to “Obama To Announce Game Plan Against ISIS”

  1. 5thDrawer Avatar

    “has struggled to articulate how he wants to address Islamic State” … (and likely ALL ‘Islamists’)
    Well, really, you can’t say THOSE things on public TV, can you?? Especially if you’re a Pres.

    “I should’ve anticipated the optics,” …. maybe could have asked Rivers about the stupid ‘Press Eyes’. Or ‘Assad the Optician’ could have told you how to handle them.

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      Add this ‘factoid’ about … dare I say … Corrupt Sunni people (as well as others) …

      “The Iraqi state has been poorly governed. Sunnis have been included in every single [post-2003] government; there was lots of inclusion but it wasn’t effective because some Sunni politicians proved to be just as corrupt [as their colleagues],” Sayegh said.
      “Shiite areas have also been marginalized,” he added.
      Sayegh argued that the question for policymakers leading the latest coalition involved whether the “massive” levels of corruption could be reversed.
      “If the U.S. takes the ostrich attitude of ‘hope for the best while we focus on our strength – airstrikes,’ it’s not going to work,” he said.
      “The U.S. isn’t in a great position to make the Iraqi state be more responsive,” Sayegh continued, citing the failed, post-2003 attempts to do just that when Washington had a massively larger military presence in the country.
      Iraqi politicians, he warned, could adopt the attitude of “you need us, so don’t push us” …..

      Read more: http://dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Sep-11/270303-round-3-in-iraq-a-war-against-terror-or-against-corruption.ashx#ixzz3CyGL72cw

    2. $89733098 Avatar

      Great article. So true.

  2. 5thDrawer Avatar

    Among the world’s screwed-up heads …
    “VIENNA: Austrian police prevented two schoolgirls aged 14 and 15 from traveling to Syria, officials said Wednesday that with press reports saying they wanted to join Islamist guerrillas.
    European countries have tightened controls to stop people traveling to join ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq – not all of them men.
    The ministry spokesman said that 142 Austrians, including 12 women, were thought to be in Syria. Ten suspected would-be jihadis have been arrested in Austria since mid-August.”

    If we have 150 countries getting an average of 150 adventure-seekers-for-God to run off and join up, that would be 22,500 added to whoever was there in the first place. (10,000 was a first quote).
    The airlines are making money at least. One-way tickets cost more. 😉

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