News / Middle East

Obama Urges Regional Strategy to Counter Islamic State

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a joint news conference with Estonian counterpart Toomas Hendrik Ilves at the Bank of Estonia in Tallinn, Sept. 3, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a joint news conference with Estonian counterpart Toomas Hendrik Ilves at the Bank of Estonia in Tallinn, Sept. 3, 2014.
VOA News

President Barack Obama said U.S. airstrikes have blunted the momentum of Islamic State militants in Iraq, and that now a regional strategy is needed to "degrade and destroy" the group.

Obama told reporters Wednesday in Estonia that the U.S. will continue leading a broader effort against what he called the "barbaric and ultimately empty vision" that the Islamic State group represents.

"We know that if we are joined by the international community, we can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem," Obama said. "And the question is going to be making sure we’ve got the right strategy, but also making sure that we’ve got the international will to do it."

The president cautioned that the effort will take time, but expressed confidence that it can be successful.

The situation in Iraq will be among the topics discussed as Obama and other NATO leaders take part in a summit in Wales, starting Thursday.

Additional US troops

On Tuesday, Obama ordered another 350 U.S. military personnel to Iraq to protect American diplomats and facilities in Baghdad.

Pentagon spokesman Read Admiral John Kirby said the 350 additional military personnel, requested by the State Department, will not take on a combat role but will provide security to U.S. personnel at the U.S. Embassy compound and its support facilities.

Kirby said these additional troops build upon previous embassy security deployments announced in June, bringing the total number of security personnnel to 820.

The additional joint forces will come from within the U.S. Central Command and will include a headquarters element, medical personnel, associated helicopters,  and an air liaison team, Kirby said in a statement on Tuesday.

In all, Kirby said, 405 U.S. military personnel will be sent to Baghdad to provide security to State Department staff.

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Comment Sorting
by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, USA
September 03, 2014 9:29 AM
The ISIL activities have already become a dastardly menace and that does urgently warrant well-concerted strategies and counter- measure actions to neutralizing it. What our president does augustly say a regional strategy is necessary to counter such a IS menace, I'am akin to him. Not only it's necessary to take ISIL inside the Iraqi territory only, it's too inside the Syrian territory. One consternation remains for taking the IS inside the Syrian territory is the Syrian rex status. And, the Syrian regime tells what'er strikes to take place inside its territory,

it's in conformity with that regime of president Assad that fights against the rebel units along with the Hizbollah militia and Iran......... If a Syria like state harbors the IS pungency that smells foul to the region of entire Middle East; and, the Syrian govt. itself is not capable to stop this, then it's the onus of the region and the international community to enter the Syrian territory for cleancing such foul elements........ by asking the Syrian regime or not, that's not a matter. If that matters to the Syrian regime so, that should endeavor to keep its civil war spills, such junks like the IS inside its territory, not beyond the Syrian borders. If the Syrian regime does not that capability; then, we do that in the silence stance of that handicapped regime.

by: meanbill from: USA
September 03, 2014 9:25 AM
It'll be a miracle if Obama can just get "one" Sunni Muslim leader to join him in any military action against the (ISIL) terrorist army, (but), they may join in "sanctions" against the (ISIL) terrorist army like the US is now doing, (and), it'll be the same condemnation of the (ISIL) terrorist army that Obama's response has been, so far?..... (a laugher, isn't it?).

The Sunni Muslim Kings and Emirs that are America's friendly Muslim countries, don't want the (ISIL) terrorist army targeting them, and I'd be a miracle if the US could get any Sunni Muslim country to fight against Sunni Muslim terrorists in any Shia Muslim country, (BUT), If Obama could somehow become "smart" for once, he'd fight the (ISIL) terrorist army by joining "WITH" the Shia Muslim governments of "SYRIA" and Iraq to fight the (ISIL) terrorist army, (but), I don't believe Obama is that smart, do you?
In Response

by: AndyfromChicago from: Chicago, USA
September 03, 2014 3:49 PM
@meanbill: The Sunni rulers of the "friendly Muslim countries" are probably terrified of ISIL / ISIS, which will move into their territories if left unchecked. Therefore, these countries would almost certainly jump on any "bandwagon" that promises to wipe out ISIL.

I disagree that we should commit ground forces to any joint action with Syria or Iraq for several reasons. First, we should not ally with Bashar Assad of Syria (who has used chemical weapons against his own citizens) for any reason. Second, the current Iraqi regime has yet to prove that it will treat the "moderate" Sunnis in Iraq fairly, and the US should not take sides helping one religious faction against another. The Iraqi army also needs to show that it has the ability / willingness to stand and fight before we give them any more weapons.

I also commend President Obama for his reluctance to take sides in Syria. Keep in mind that ISIS / ISIL is currently fighting another jihadi organization in Syria called al Nusra - which is an al Quaeda affiliate. I don't think the US should help the same terrorists who attacked New York.

I think we are far better served by using our air power. Of course, I wouldn't object if Seal Team Six locates the leader of ISIS / ISIL and pays him a visit - like they did with Osama bin Laden.

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