Speed Reads


In prime time address, Obama lays out anti-ISIS strategy

President Obama on Wednesday delivered a prime time address from the White House laying out a strategy to "degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL" — also commonly known as ISIS.

Obama laid out a four-point plan involving:

1. An air campaign against ISIS — including areas of Syria, plus an expansion of the U.S.'s strikes within Iraq.

2. Increased support to the Iraqi Defense Forces — with an additional 475 American service members being sent to Iraq. "As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission — we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq," Obama insisted. "But they are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence, and equipment."

On this point, Obama also asked Congress for authorization to train and equip Syrian opposition fighters, rather than working with the Assad regime in Syria's civil war: "In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people; a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost."

3. The use of American counter-terrorism infrastructure to prevent ISIS attacks, cut off the group's funding, and to "counter its warped ideology."

4. Continuing to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians who have been caught in the conflict, including both Sunni and Shiite Muslims, as well as Christians and other minority religious groups.

Obama also stated that there was a "broad coalition" of partners, and a continued American diplomatic effort in this project:

Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq; sending arms and assistance to Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian opposition; sharing intelligence; and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid. Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity, and in the coming days he will travel across the Middle East and Europe to enlist more partners in this fight, especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria to drive these terrorists from their lands. This is American leadership at its best: we stand with people who fight for their own freedom; and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity. [Obama]