Date
14 December 2017
President Barack Obama is interviewed by Chuck Todd of NBC's Meet The Press. Obama says his plan for dealing with ISIS requires plenty of resources but there will be no boots on the ground. Photo: Reuters
President Barack Obama is interviewed by Chuck Todd of NBC's Meet The Press. Obama says his plan for dealing with ISIS requires plenty of resources but there will be no boots on the ground. Photo: Reuters

Obama: Time to play offense against Islamic State

President Barack wants Saudi Arabia and Sunni nations in the Middle East to play offense with the United States against the Islamic State.

Obama told NBC his plan will include more resources short of deploying US ground troops and will be “similar to the kinds of counterterrorism campaigns that we’ve been engaging in consistently over the last five, six, seven years”, according to Bloomberg.

Obama has been criticized for saying last week that he did not have a strategy for dealing with the Islamist extremists. 

He said he doesn’t need additional authorization from Congress but will seek lawmakers’ support and he will brief congressional leaders a day in advance.

Obama sidestepped a question about whether the US would expand airstrikes to targets inside Syria, a policy that his administration has been debating. He ruled out using US troops on the ground, stressing that any ground forces should be from the moderate Syrian opposition.

“What I want people to understand, though, is that over the course of months, we are going to be able to not just blunt the momentum of ISIL,” Obama said said, using another acronym for Islamic State.

“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 them.”

Last week, the 28 members of the NATO military alliance said in their annual summit they are prepared to join the fight against Islamic State, although they did not commit to any military action and said it was one of a number of conflicts drawing concern, along with Ukraine and Afghanistan, the report said.

Obama urged Sunni Arabs to take a more active role in defeating the militants, setting aside the traditional rivalry between Sunni and Shia Muslims to combat extremists from both camps. He said Sunni Arab allies should realize Islamic State, which has declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.

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