White House reportedly planning years-long campaign to destroy ISIS
The Obama administration is reportedly preparing a campaign to destroy the Islamic State militant group that could outlast the president’s remaining time in office, according to a published report.
The New York Times, citing U.S. officials, reported late Sunday that the White House plan involves three phases that some Pentagon officials believe will require at least three years of sustained effort.
The first phase, airstrikes against Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is already underway in Iraq, where U.S. aircraft have launched 143 attacks since August 8. The second phase involves an intensified effort to train, advise, and equip the Iraqi army, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, and any Sunni tribesmen willing to fight their ISIS co-religionists. The Times reports that this second phase will begin sometime after Iraq forms a new government, which could happen sometime this week.
The third, and most politically fraught phase of the campaign, according to The Times, would require airstrikes against ISIS inside Syria. Last month, the government of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus warned the Obama administration not to launch airstrikes against ISIS in Syria without its permission.
Obama was scheduled to outline his plan in a meeting Tuesday with House and Senate leaders before addressing the nation in a speech Wednesday, the eve of the 13th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. A senior Obama administration official told Fox News imminent, new military action in either Iraq or Syria was not expected to be announced in Wednesday’s speech. A senior White House official told Fox News that Obama’s primary aim will be to update the American public on what the strategy is to deal with the militant group, saying the administration wants “people to understand how he’s approaching this.”