Obama Admits Defeat in Attempts to Overcome ISIS

Obama Admits Defeat in Attempts to Overcome ISIS
Tue Jul 7, 2015 12:53:12

President Obama acknowledged setbacks in US efforts to fight “nimble” and “opportunistic” ISIS, but reaffirmed his ongoing strategy of battling the terrorist organization on Monday after a rare meeting with top military brass at the Pentagon, Al-Alam News Network reports.

“As with any military effort, there will be periods of progress, but there are also going to be some setbacks,” Obama was quoted as saying by Boston Herald. “But today, it’s also important for us to recognize the progress that’s been made.”

Critics say the ongoing campaign, in which the United States provides airstrikes and military advisors while relying largely on regional forces on the ground to hold Islamic State fighters at bay, is unsustainable.

The current strategy “is sort of like shooting your way into a bar in an old western,” said Thomas Donnelly, defense expert at the American Enterprise Institute. “You have some shooting, (but) after a while it stops and the piano player starts playing again.

“It seems to be more of the same ‘Keep calm and keep retreating’ strategy,” Donnelly said.

Obama acknowledged the slow progress of the campaign, stressing the role of regional fighters, regional Muslim countries and the larger international community in helping to push back and ultimately defeat ISIS.

“This will not be quick. This is a long-term campaign,” Obama said. “ISIS is opportunistic and it is nimble. In many places in Syria and Iraq, including urban areas, it’s dug in among innocent civilian populations. It will take time to root them out.”

Obama also touted the efforts of the military mission, including more than 5,000 airstrikes that have destroyed the terror group’s camps, destroyed equipment and taken out thousands of fighters, including top ISIS commanders.

Obama’s remarks came after a weekend of particularly heavy airstrikes in Syria in Raqqa city, ISIS's command center. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said yesterday that the offensive was meant to aid Kurdish forces’ ability to hold back the advancement of ISIS fighters. But soon after the strikes the terrorist organization was able to storm the nearby town of Ain Issa, which has been held by Kurdish-led forces.

“It’s very important that the manner in which effective and lasting defeat of ISIS will occur when there are effective local forces on the ground that we can support and enable so they can take territory, hold territory, and make sure good governance came in,” Carter told reporters earlier in the day before the meeting with Obama.

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