Obama to outline anti-IS strategy

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry looks out over Baghdad from a helicopter on Wednesday during his visit.   | Photo Credit: POOL

U.S. President Barack Obama was poised to announce his support to both opposition groups in Syria and the newly formed Iraqi government in their fight against the Islamic State (IS), the militant group that captured large parts of Iraq and Syria in recent months and declared a caliphate.

‘Degrade and destroy IS’

Previewing a key speech to be made by the President on Wednesday night on the administration’s broad anti-IS strategy, a White House official said, “Tonight you will hear from the President how the U.S. will pursue a comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy [IS], including U.S. military action and support for the forces combating [IS] on the ground — both the opposition in Syria and a new, inclusive Iraqi government.”

The official added that Mr. Obama would outline plans to build a coalition of allies and partners in the region and in the broader international community to support U.S. efforts, and will also touch upon how he would coordinate with the U.S. Congress as a partner in these efforts.

Even as Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Iraq for consultations with the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Mr. Obama informed congressional leaders on Tuesday that he did not require any authorisation from them to take military action against the IS, which has faced worldwide condemnation for beheading two American journalists in recent weeks.

Mr. Kerry’s mission to Iraq this week appeared to be two-fold, to offer confidence and support in their fight against the IS, and to press Mr. Abadi to institute an inclusive government.

Speaking in Baghdad at a joint press conference earlier on Wednesday, he told Mr. Abadi, “Your comments today… [on] the steps that you are prepared to take not only with respect to [IS]… but also your commitment to the broad reforms that are necessary in Iraq to bring every segment of Iraqi society to the table... is really important from the international community’s point of view.”

Though rumours have been circulating for a while now about the prospects of the U.S. expanding air strikes into Syria and also cooperating further with Syrian opposition forces, no concrete policies have been outlined by the White House on either issue thus far.

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 3:52:34 AM |

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