SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- President Barack Obama is facing intense criticism for admitting the United States does not have a strategy to address the ISIL terrorist organization after a week of bluster about eliminating that “cancer.”
The US president said Thursday that he was not planning to significantly expand the military action against ISIL anytime soon. American military planes have carried out over 100 airstrikes against the terror network in Iraq since August 8.
“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama said in a briefing with reporters at the White House.
“My priority at this point is to make sure that the gains that ISIL made in Iraq are rolled back and that Iraq has the opportunity to govern itself effectively and secure itself,” he stated.
Obama’s remarks came after days of heated debate within his national security team about whether to strike ISIL in Syria. Earlier this week, Obama authorized military surveillance flights over Syria, a move that was seen as a prelude to subsequent airstrikes.
Republican critics were quick to bounce Thursday, criticizing the president for his self-admitted lack of strategy while ISIL is growing in strength in both Iraq and Syria.
Sen. John McCain, one of Obama’s fiercest foreign policy critics, tweeted Thursday that ISIL was the largest and richest terrorist group in history.
At an event in California Thursday night, Rep. Paul Ryan, (R-Wis.) also responded to Obama’s comment, saying the US needed a “strategy to finish them off.”
“Not to contain them … but to fundamentally finish them off. And I don’t think the president sees this moment for what it is,” he added.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, (R-Texas) said on Fox News that the Obama administration’s strategy to address the ISIL terror network was inadequate.
“He did say we don’t have a strategy, but he followed that up by saying the strategy is to nip it in the bud. Well, unfortunately, it’s not in a bud, it’s full-blossom,” Gohmert said.
Calls for striking ISIL grew more intense following last week’s brutal beheading of American journalist James Foley by the militant group in Syria which was posted in a video online.
Obama said Thursday that military leaders were presenting him with a “range of options” for addressing the terrorist group that, according to some intelligence officials, poses the greatest threat to the US homeland since al-Qaeda before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.