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Obama Gives Speech on ISIS Strategy

Views 109 | Time to read: 5 minutes | Uploaded: 9 - 18 - 2014 | By: Katie Baker

Last Wednesday, Sept. 10, one day before the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, President Barack Obama gave a speech to the American public explaining his strategy for combating ISIS, the Islamist insurgent group self-titled the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.”

According to online footage of the speech from the New York Times, Obama outlined his strategy, which he said had the goal “to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as Isil."

The President’s strategy, according to this speech, includes four main parts: airstrikes to hit Isil targets, increased support to allies on the ground, drawing upon counterterrorism capabilities, and providing humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians displaced by the organization.

ISIS, formerly known as Isil, has taken over large areas of Syria and Iraq, according to the Times. The group gained further notoriety in the past few months after releasing videos of members beheading two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, says CNN.

In his speech, Obama reminded American citizens of previous successes against al-Qaeda, including the termination of Osama bin Laden and much of al-Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the targeting of al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen.

“Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat,” said President Obama. “That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today. And that’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge. At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain."

Obama renounced the group’s claims of acting in the Muslim faith, stating, “Isil is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents.” He also used words such as “genocide” and “barbaric” to refer to their actions and described the organization as a “cancer."

Obama described the al-Qaeda-linked Islamists as a threat to the Middle East and greater area, and “if left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region, including to the United States.”

The insurgent group ISIS began as The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), a minor force of al-Qaeda fighting against British and American troops near Baghdad, according to the Telegraph. ISIS broke ties with al-Qaeda in April 2013, rebranding itself to ISIS or IS for the Islamic State.

According to Kurzgesagt online, ISIS is well known for its civilian massacres, hostage taking including women and children, suicide bombing and announcing that all who are disloyal to the organization will be killed.

The US-funded Iraqi army, according to Kurzegesagt, lacking loyalty to their government, frequently disbanded or abandoned their posts once attacked by ISIS, allowing for the group to take control of large areas in northern Iraq.

ISIS now controls not only substantial areas in the north of Iraq but also Mosul, one of the countries largest cities, and vast amounts of wealth seized from captured banks, says Kurzgesagt.

It was the takeover of Mosul that inspired the US to voice concerns over the threat the jihadist has to the region as a whole, according to the Telegraph.

The organization’s extensive use of social media and recruitment of non-Arabs has escalated these concerns, says VICE news. “Thousands of foreigners, including Europeans and some Americans, have joined them in Syria and Iraq,” according to Obama’s speech.

As stated in the President’s Sept. 10 speech, the US has conducted over 150 airstrikes against ISIS since Obama ordered targeted military action last month. The President claimed that these strikes have helped save the lives of thousands of men, women and children.

These airstrikes will include terrorists who threaten the US wherever they were located, which, according to Obama, implicates forces in Syria as well. “If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven,” the President said.

Obama’s speech highlighted a focus on local partners rather than the reentry of American troops into combat. “We cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners on the ground,” he said Wednesday.

Additional US action depended on Iraq forming an inclusive government, which they have done in recent weeks, said Obama in his ISIS speech. After this initial step, the US will increase support of the Iraqi Security Forces.

The speech also included an appeal to Congress for additional resources to continue this counterterrorism strategy.

Obama distinguished in his speech between the approach to the Islamic State and the approach to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, due to the fact that there would be “no combat troops on the ground” but rather the use of air power and support of partners on the front lines. The President cited success of similar strategies in Yemen and Somalia.

Photo Source NBC News


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