Washington: Having drawn flak over not outlining any clear strategy yet on how to check the Islamic State's murderous advance, US President Barack Obama finally seems to have a clear “game plan” on ISIS offensive which he is going to reveal in a speech on Wednesday.
Just hours after the US extended the scope of its targeted air strikes in Iraq to its Sunni Arab heartland, striking the IS spots near a strategic Haditha dam, President Barack Obama appeared in a TV interview talking about a phased campaign that US will launch to rein in the ISIS.
Appearing in an interview on the NBC's “Meet the Press”, Obama told the moderator Chuck Todd that the US has a capability to deal with the serious threat posed by the Islamic State and over a course of months, the US will manage to blunt, degrade and defeat the extremists.
“Over the course of months, we are going to be able to not just blunt the momentum of ISIL. We are going to systematically degrade their capabilities. We're going to shrink the territory that they control. And ultimately we're going to defeat 'em,”said Obama.
Obama added that the entire game plan to deal with the ISIS will be revealed in his Wednesday speech.
However, he made it clear that the announcement was not about US boots on the ground as he maintains his policy of no repeat of Iraq war.
While agreeing to the fact that the US can't defeat ISIS with air strikes alone, Obama said that it was not possible to "deal with this problem by having the United States serially occupy various countries all around the Middle East".
"'We've got to have a more sustainable strategy, which means the boots on the ground have to be Iraqi... and in Syria, the boots on the ground have to be Syrian," said Obama.
According to Obama's remarks, his administration is gearing up to carry out a systematic campaign, the first phase of which involves making ground assessment and targeted airstrikes in Iraq to protect “American personnel, our embassies, our consulates”.
The next phase, said Obama will be “to start going on some offense”, only after an Iraqi government was in place during which the US will train, advise and support the Iraqi military, Kurdish fighters and possibly members of Sunni tribes.
“We have to get an Iraqi government in place. And I'm optimistic that next week, we should be able to get that done,” said Obama.
According to the New York Times, the third and the final phase is apparently the toughest and most politically controversial phase of the operation as it will involve destroying the extremists in their den in Syria.
This might take three years according to senior administration officials, reported the New York Times.
Obama also highlighted the fierce online presence of the Islamic State and its supporters on social media and how it was affecting the vulnerable youths across the globe.
"One of the things we’ve seen about ISIL is they’re really good on social media,"said Obama.
Stressing on the need to bring in a huge amount of counter-narrative to negate the IS propaganda, Obama urged the leaders across the Sunni states and the Arab world to speak against the ISIS ideology and publicise how the extremists are wrong about the idea of Islam, presenting it in a distorted form.
"They understand how to (convey) message to disaffected youth throughout the Arab world and throughout the Sunni world.. And the question is, when are the moderate Sunni states and leadership going to work systematically to say, “what ISIL represents isn’t Islam.”It is an abortion-- a distortion-- an abomination of that-- that has, you know, somehow tied Islam to the kind of nihilistic thinking that any civilized nation should eliminate,"said Obama.