US President Barack Obama lays out counterterror strategy to fight ISIL


US President Barack Obama

The US President Barack Obama has laid out a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and vowed to "degrade and ultimately destroy" ISIL.

Speaking during a nationally televised address at the White House on 10 September, the President said: "Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are.

"That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq.

"This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven."

The new campaign comes after Obama authorised limited airstrikes against the ISIL militants in Iraq in August while the plan further deepens the role of the US military in the Middle East.

Urging cooperation from Iraqis and other Arab partners to confront the threat in the region, Obama said that the US will lead a broad coalition of nations, but "this is not our fight alone."

As part of the counterterrorism strategy, the US will send an additional 475 service members to provide Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment.

Separately, the US will continue to increase its efforts to train and supply the moderate Syrian opposition and provide humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians displaced by ISIL attacks.

"That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq."

The campaign will also see the US working alongside allies and partner nations to improve intelligence and strengthen defences against the ISIL, while deploying measures to cut funding to the group.

The coalition of nations will support the campaign in different ways, such as flying humanitarian missions alongside US Air Force crews, train and supply Iraqi, Kurdish and moderate Syrian forces, fly fighter jets alongside US aircraft and share intelligence.

In response to the new campaign, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a written statement said: "The men and women of the US armed forces are ready to carry out the orders of our commander in chief, to work with our partners across government and to work with our friends and allies around the world to accomplish this mission."


Image: US President Barack Obama. Photo: courtesy of Pete Souza, The Obama-Biden Transition Project.