Obama Vows To Lead Coalition To 'Degrade And Destroy' ISIS
Obama Vows To Lead Coalition To 'Degrade And Destroy' ISIS EFE

President Barack Obama said sufficient international support had been garnered for a campaign to "degrade and ultimately destroy" ISIS, cautioning that that endeavor will take time and involve risks for the military forces involved. "Tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat," Obama said in a nationally televised address Wednesday night from the White House.
Throughout his 15-minute speech, the president stressed that the U.S. can lead the fight against the Sunni militants, who have proclaimed a caliphate in the parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria under their control, but that it will need a concerted effort from the Arab countries.
"This is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region," he added. "Especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria to drive these terrorists from their lands (are needed)," Obama said.

To that end, Secretary of State, John Kerry will continue his tour of the Middle East and Europe to garner support for the fight against the jihadists, the president said. Obama said he will expand airstrikes against the Sunni militants in Iraq, where to date that bombing campaign has been limited to assisting communities under threat from the jihadists or protecting American interests, saying the strikes now will be used to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces recover territory lost to ISIS.
He also said he would "not hesitate to take action" against the extremists in Syria, justifying the expansion of the fight on the grounds that those who threaten America "will find no safe haven."
The president acknowledged, "we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland" but insisted that IS's "leaders have threatened America and our allies."
Obama announced that 475 additional U.S. troops will be sent to Iraq next week to train, advise and equip Iraqi and Kurdish forces, thus increasing the number of American troops in the country to more than 1,500.

He reiterated an earlier promise, however, not to use American troops in a combat role on the ground, as was the case with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq. But they are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment," Obama said.
 In his speech, delivered on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks, Obama gave no deadline for completing the mission against IS, but he compared this new military effort to his administration's long-standing counter-terrorism campaign against Al-Qaeda-linked groups in Yemen and Somalia.
On Tuesday, Obama requested congressional authorization to train and equip moderate elements of the Syrian opposition. Saudi Arabia has agreed to host a training center in support of that campaign, according to official sources.
Regarding the targeted attacks in Syria, there is still no starting date because the White House is still coordinating with the Defense Department on how to conduct the bombing campaign, according to the sources.

The United States has gathered commitments from some 40 countries willing to fight the jihadist group in some way but has not formally announced the members of coalition, which is expected to take shape by the end of this month during a U.N. General Assembly.As part of his strategy, Obama cited efforts to cut off funding sources for the IS, increase humanitarian aid to displaced civilians and contain the flow of thousands of foreign fighters into the ranks of the Sunni militants, including "Europeans and some Americans who "could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks."
In an editorial published late Wednesday, the New York Times said that in making his decision to extend the fight against IS to Syria Obama "clearly felt that he had little choice militarily or politically."
It termed IS a "vicious Sunni extremist group" that "has seized territory in Iraq and Syria and beheaded two Americans." 
However, the paper disputed the president's argument that his administration has the authority to expand the campaign in Iraq and extend it to Syria under the Iraq war resolution and the 1973 War Powers Resolution. "This open-ended operation, which Mr. Obama says will take time, demands congressional approval," the Times said.

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