President Obama has finally declared war on the Islamic State. He has limited the campaign to airstrikes and the arming of Syrian rebels.
US President Barak Obama vowed to demolish the Islamic State (IS) terror group on Wednesday, as he laid out his plans to fight the organization in a 15-minute address to the American nation.
Stating that he would purse the terror group wherever they were, Obama announced that he had authorized the US military to expand its operation and airstrikes against IS into Syria, having limited their operations to Iraq alone.
“Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy,” Obama said during a prime-time address on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The US military has so far launched more than 150 airstrikes in Iraq in the past month to help halt Islamic State advances.
‘Broad Coalition’ to Battle IS
Obama further announced that America will lead a “broad coalition” that will fight to eradicate the group, which has strewn terror and destruction across large regions in the Middle East and recently beheaded two American journalists. However, Obama stressed that the campaign will be executed from the air and that there will be no American boots on the ground.
“This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground,” Obama said.
The president also declared that another 475 service members will deploy to Iraq, which will bring the total number of American personnel in Iraq to 1,600.
Obama’s plan includes the training and arming of rebel forces within Syria who will act against IS. He called to “strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.” A Reuters report remarked that it is unclear whether more American weapons and training can shift the battlefield balance toward the US-backed rebels, who are badly outgunned by Islamic State as well as other militant groups and Assad’s forces.
Furthermore, this program can pose a danger to Israel, as many of the rebel factions are affiliated with al-Qaeda and anti-Israel organizations, and according to some reports even work with IS and have joined them.
France has announced it will join the US coalition but limit its airstrikes in Iraq alone.
Many Questions Remain Unanswered
Republican lawmakers welcomed what they said was a delayed recognition that Islamic State represented a threat to the United States. “A speech is not the same thing as a strategy,” said House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner. “However, while the president presented a compelling case for action, many questions remain about the way in which the president intends to act.”
Foxnews points out that Obama’s new strategy consists of a dramatic turnaround from the administration’s approach to IS just a few months ago, when the president downplayed the group’s advances through northern Iraq. Now, he is outlining a “comprehensive” strategy for targeting the organization in Iraq and Syria, including by potentially aiding factions of the Syrian opposition.
Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel