-- Nearly one month ago, President Barack Obama admitted the United States did not “yet have a complete strategy” to defeat the Islamic State.
“There's a cause, a coalition that's united countries across the globe, some 60 nations including Arab partners,” Obama said, flanked by his top military advisers at the Pentagon briefing room. “Our comprehensive strategy against ISIL is harnessing all elements of American power across our government — military, intelligence, diplomatic, economic development, and perhaps most importantly the power of our values.”
While the vast majority of the coalition's airstrikes have focused on targets in Iraq, Obama also signaled a growing emphasis on targets in Syria.
"Indeed, we're intensifying our efforts against ISIL's base in Syria," he said. "Our airstrikes will continue to target the oil and gas facilities that fund so much of their operations.”
“This will not be quick. This is a long-term campaign. ISIL is opportunistic, and it is nimble,” he said. “It will take time to root them out and doing so must be the job of local forces on the ground, with training and air support from our coalition.”
Obama asserted that ISIS is “surrounded by countries and communities committed to its destruction” but overcoming the Islamic State’s grip on power will require more than a military effort.
“Our strategy recognizes that no amount of military force will end the terror that is ISIL unless it's matched by a broader effort, political and economic, that addresses the underlying conditions that have allowed ISIL to gain traction,” he added. “They have filled a void and we have to make sure that, as we push them out, that void is filled.”
Last month, the president conceded that the administration’s strategy fell short of one required to defeat ISIS, but he promised his military advisers were working on additional options for him to review.
"We don't yet have a complete strategy," Obama said June 8 at the G7 summit of world leaders in Germany. "The details of that are not yet worked out."