Obama On His Strategy Against ISIS: “I Don’t Think We’re Losing”
Following the Islamic State’s capture of the Iraqi city of Ramadi, President Barack Obama said in an interview that his strategy against the militant group isn’t failing.
In an interview with The Atlantic, he said, “I don’t think we’re losing.”
He added that the fall of the capital of Anbar province Ramadi was a “tactical setback,” and the inefficiency of the Iraqi Defense Forces was to be blamed.
Obama said, “The training of Iraqi security forces, the fortifications, the command-and-control systems are not happening fast enough in Anbar, in the Sunni parts of the country.” He further said that the lack of engagement of the Sunni fighters towards fighting the ISIS was a “source of concern.”
“We’re going to have to ramp up not just training, but also commitment, and we better get Sunni tribes more activated than they currently have been,” he said.
According to New York Post, the rapid strengthening of the Islamic State’s dominance reflects the failure of the U.S. coalition. However, American leaders aren’t vouching for any other military options other than air strikes.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest emphasized that President Obama would not rely on a large-scale military deployment. Congressional critics, though, say that a change in strategy is required.
On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner said, “To win this fight, the president is going to have to scrap his policies that aren’t working, lay out a broad overarching strategy to defeat these savage terrorists,” as reported by Fox News.
Boehner further said that engaging more with Islamic leaders to address radicalization and with American allies in the region are options that Obama should seek, in addition to adopting a better anti-ISIS strategy on social media and putting an end to “artificial constraints on our commanders.”
Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said that the U.S. needs to “make adjustments” by increasing its troops on Iraqi soil and sending special forces in Syria.
O’Hanlon wrote in USA Today, “At the military level, we need to put Americans in more forward locations on the battlefield. They should be in position to call in airstrikes and perhaps even help Iraqis with some raids …. A few thousand more G.I.s may be required to do so, beyond the 3,000 already now in [Iraq].”
The U.S. is “expediting” 2,000 AT-4 anti-tank rockets to Iraq as early as next week, according to Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren. However, the artillery will not be sent directly to Sunni tribes.
“As is the case with all of our deliveries, they are going to the government of Iraq,” he said.
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Tags:anti-ISIS strategy on social mediaanti-tank rockets to Iraqfailure of US coalitionincreasing troops on Iraqi soilIraqi Defense ForcesIslamic State's capture of Ramadilarge-scale military deployment