Obama’s delusional press conference

A piece notes that despite the recent speech by President Obama at the Pentagon on ISIS, the strategy has not changed.

The article opens, “Since he last stood at the podium in the Pentagon briefing room in July, President Barack Obama has sent special operations forces into combat in Iraq and Syria, ordered hundreds of new airstrikes against the Islamic State, and struggled to figure out whether, or how, to incorporate Vladimir Putin’s Russia into the anti-Islamic State fight. Obama was back at the Pentagon Monday, but the situation on the ground in Iraq and Syria remains much the same as when the president last crossed the Potomac, and his comments reflected an administration searching for good news to announce”.

The report goes on to note “With no major new successes to tout, Obama was forced to recount many of the same victories he listed in July, when he said U.S. allies had taken Kobani in Syria and the cities of Tikrit and Sinjar in Iraq. In a sign of how tenuous even those types of successes can be, Kurdish Peshmerga forces were forced to launch a second full-scale assault on Sinjar just last month after pockets of Islamic State resistance continued to harass the local population. Kurdish commanders say they’ve finally pushed the final militant holdouts out of the area while cutting a vital highway resupply route between Syria and Mosul”.

This is the clearest sign yet the Obama strategy is not working. Many of the administration have the same refrain, that more time is needed but the question then arises as to how much time is needed before real successes come about against ISIS.

As evidence for this he writes “the Islamic State continues to hold the Iraqi cities of Mosul, Fallujah, and Ramadi, and uses the Syrian city of Raqqa as its administrative capital. Thousands of foreign fighters still stream across the Turkish border, and the fragile U.S.-backed government in Baghdad continues to struggle to unite the country behind the fight. Likewise, Iraqi troops have been fighting at the edges of the Islamic State-held city of Ramadi for months, unable to push deeply into the city despite having up to 10,000 personnel many trained and supplied by the United States — ringing the city. The Iraqi forces outnumber the defenders 10 to 1, according to some Pentagon estimates”.

The piece continues “In his remarks Monday, though, Obama painted a very different picture of the fighting in Iraqi towns and cities. He said, using an acronym for the Islamic State, that “our partners on the ground are rooting ISIL out, town by town, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, block by block” and “we are hitting ISIL harder than ever” with more than 9,000 airstrikes during the $5.2 billion, 16-month campaign. “In many places, ISIL has lost its freedom of maneuver because they know if they mass their forces, we will wipe them out. In fact, since this summer, ISIL has not had a single successful major offensive operation on the ground in either Syria or Iraq,” he said”.

The article goes on to make the point “The president made similar claims during his remarks at the Pentagon in July, boasting of the “thousands of fighting positions, tanks, vehicles, bomb factories, and training camps” that U.S. air power had eliminated and touting Iraqi forces as “an effective partner on the ground.” The fight has morphed in unexpected ways since the president was last at the Pentagon. In September, Russia sent dozens of fighter planes to Syria to support the regime of Bashar al-Assad, a move that immediately bolstered the strongman’s hold on power. While the White House and U.S. defense officials have been sharply critical of Russia’s role, Moscow’s jets have started to strike more Islamic State sites in and around Raqqa, and the Russians have made sure they will be a key player in any potential political settlement to the nearly five-year civil war in Syria”.

Correctly he notes that “Amid all of this, Defense Department leaders have been forced to admit in recent weeks that the Islamic State has continued to expand outside the strongholds it has built in Iraq and Syria, with affiliates now operating in Libya, Afghanistan, and other countries. Alleged Islamic State sympathizers have also been linked to bloody terrorist attacks in both Europe and the United States. Since Obama’s remarks over the summer, the Islamic State has claimed credit for bombing a Russian passenger jet over the Sinai Peninsula, as well as for the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, which was the deadliest terrorist assault in the United States since 9/11″.

interestingly the author notes that “Ash Carter announced last month that as many as 200 special operations forces are headed to Iraq in the coming weeks to engage in direct combat with the militant group in an attempt to pick apart its leadership structure. The deployment will come on top of the 50 commandos recently sent to northern Syria to advise moderate Arab and Kurdish groups there. While defense officials have refused to confirm if those troops have already arrived in Syria, Obama announced they “have begun supporting local forces” in cutting off supply lines leading to Raqqa”.

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