Washington: US President Barack Obama says he will make a speech Wednesday to lay out his "game plan" to deal with and ultimately defeat the Islamic State militants, but warned he was not going to wage another ground war in Iraq.
"I'm preparing the country to make sure that we deal with a threat from ISIL," Obama said in an interview aired today on NBC's "Meet the Press," using an alternative name for the jihadist group.
"On Wednesday, I'll make a speech and describe what our game plan's going to be going forward," Obama said in the interview, in which he gave his most explicit rundown yet of his strategy for taking on IS.
Two days after returning from the NATO summit in Wales, Obama said he was confident he would be able to build a broad-based international coalition to take on Islamic State, which has carved out a stronghold in large areas of Syria and Iraq.
"But this is not going to be an announcement about US ground troops.
"This is not the equivalent of the Iraq war. What this is is similar to the kinds of counterterrorism campaigns that we've been engaging in consistently over the last five, six, seven years."
Obama's appearance appeared to be partly an attempt to defuse a political row set off when he said late last month that he did not yet have a strategy for taking on Islamic State in Syria.
The president, in the interview recorded yesterday, outlined an approach that would be similar to the approach he adopted to neutralise al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and other terror groups.
But he stuck to his position that the United States, exhausted by years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, could no longer deploy huge armies to "serially occupy" hostile nations in the Middle East to tackle extremist groups.
"What I'm going to be asking the American people to understand is, number one, this is a serious threat," Obama said.
"Number two, we have the capacity to deal with it. Here's how we're going to deal with it
"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 them," Obama said, while stressing that there did not appear to be immediate short-term threat from IS to the US homeland.