Sunday, September 28, 2014

Obama Says U.S. Intelligence Underestimated Islamic State threat -- Civil War Created Environment for Islamic State to Thrive --- President Barack Obama said U.S. intelligence underestimated that the political chaos in Syria over the past several years would create an environment for extremist group Islamic State to thrive. -- "This became ground zero for jihadists around the world," he said in an interview with CBS's 60 Minutes, according to an excerpt aired by the network on Sunday. -- The president said Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, was able to attract former members of Saddam Hussein's military in Iraq who brought a more sophisticated military strategy to the movement. -- This "gave them some traditional military capacity and not just terrorist capacity," Mr. Obama said, adding that it was "absolutely true" that the U.S. overestimated the ability and willingness of the new Iraqi government to push back against Islamic State. -- The U.S. and international partners, particularly in the Middle East, would have to come up with political solutions in Iraq and Syria, Mr. Obama said. -- But the near-term plan was to destabilize Islamic State. -- "We just have to push them back and shrink their space and go after their command and control…and work to eliminate the flow of foreign fighters," he said. -- The full 60 Minutes interview is slated to air Sunday evening. --- Also on CBS, Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken reiterated that the U.S. military planned to continue airstrikes but would not send troops into the conflicts. -- "We've been clear that there will not be a U.S. ground invasion of Iraq or Syria," he said. He left the door open, however, to the idea that a no-fly zone could be established over Syria at some point. --- On ABC News "This Week," House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) indicated that sending in American combat troops could become necessary to eliminate the Islamic State threat. - More, WSJ,


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