U.S. President Barack Obama proclaimed ISIS was “on the defensive, after a few bad months.” He was speaking at the CIA headquarters outside Washington.
While speaking specifically about the terror group ISIS at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, President Obama sounded pretty confident about pushing back the ISIS offensive and forcing the terror group into going on defensive in Syria, the group’s primary stronghold. He added that the group’s activities, which according to him were quite “depraved,” had only strengthened the resolve of the coalition,
“Their barbarism only stiffens our unity and our determination to wipe this vile terrorist organization off the face of the earth. Today on the ground in Syria and Iraq, ISIL is on the defensive. Our 66-member coalition, including Arab partners, is on the offensive. We have momentum and we intend to keep that momentum.”
The coalition appears to have gained significant inroads into Syria and Iraq and has successfully managed to cut off several key supply routes of the ISIS. Additionally, several airstrikes have managed to take out key leaders within the terror group, thereby weakening the upper command, he added.
The coalition also claims to have significantly disrupted the command chain between the ISIS management and foot soldiers, ensuring the primary terror activities are much more labored than before. The terror organization has shrunk significantly and their numbers continue to dwindle, added Obama,
“For ISIL’s leadership, it has been a bad few months. Every day, ISIL leaders wake up and understand it could be their last. The ISIL core in Syria and Iraq continues to shrink. Their ranks of fighters are estimated to be at the lowest levels in about two years. We’re sending a message: If you target Americans, you have no safe haven. We will find you.”
Prior to addressing the meeting, Barack Obama had attended a session that strictly centered around the ISIS. During a pre-meeting briefing, Obama met with his top national security officials, possibly to understand the progress made by America-led coalition in Syria and Iraq. The session that followed was attended by nearly three dozen high-ranking officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and National Security Adviser Susan Rice. Defense Secretary Ash Carter – currently traveling in Asia – participated via secure video teleconference, reported CNN.
Barack Obama seldom visits the CIA headquarters, let alone give a speech there. In fact, this is Obama’s third visit at Virginia, but his first in his second term. The previous two visits had been during his first term. Majority of his meetings about ISIS and the activities in the region usually take place in the White House Situation Room.
While the America-led coalition continues to pressure ISIS through persistent and relentless airstrikes, President Obama has indicated he desires a diplomatic and political solution in the region. Obama is expected to travel to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, next week, where he will convene with the regional leaders to fortify the defense strategies against ISIS. Interestingly, Obama categorically noted that the war-torn region does need a political path and the same will be discussed during his trip to Riyadh,
“The U.S. will continue to do everything we can to help the cessation succeed and to advance a political solution to the Syrian civil war. [However] Syria’s political future must not include Assad.”
He was referring to the highly fragile ceasefire that has been agreed upon between the ISIS and the current officially recognized government of Syria, led by Bashar al-Assad. It is apparent that Assad and his government are under the influence of Kremlin and needless to say, any pro-Russia government won’t sit well with America.
Though Obama has claimed ISIS is on the defensive, he accepted there are multiple voids in intelligence sharing between the 66-nation coalition. While stressing the need to enhance sharing of intelligence to prevent ISIS-linked attacks outside Syria, Obama added he has tasked his national security team with devising ways to scale up the ISIS fight, reported WYFF4.
Will Obama’s plan to obliterate ISIS involve sending more American troops into Syria?
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