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President Obama Promises To 'Degrade And Destroy' ISIL

Will Federman |
September 10, 2014 | 7:19 p.m. PDT


On the eve of Sept. 11, President Obama presented a war-weary nation with a four-point plan to expand U.S. military involvement in the Middle East and combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Calling upon Congress to authorize funds to train and equip opposition forces, Obama's proposal will also include heavy airstrikes against a threat the President called a “cancer.”

“We will degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL,” Obama said during a nationally televised address late Wednesday evening.

SEE ALSO: What We Know About Obama's Strategy To Destroy ISIL

The President announced the deployment of 475 servicemembers to Iraq, but emphasized the troops will serve in a support role and not combat capacity. Obama also outlined plans to lead humanitarian efforts in the region and freeze ISIL assets.

Congressional approval of funds to combat ISIL will be necessary to combat the organization’s “warped strategy,” according to the President. There are no plans to send American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. Instead, Obama preached “steady, relentless effort” to wipe out ISIL before the militant group forces “communities to be driven from their ancient homelands.”

ISIL, which initially emerged as an affiliate of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, broke off from the terrorist organization in February after political infighting led to a bitter split between the two factions during the Syrian civil war. Occuyping of large swaths of territory in both Syria and Iraq, ISIL essentially established a caliphate—even issuing passports to supporters in mid-July.

“It is recognized by no government, nor by the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. It has no vision other than the slaughter of those who stand in its way,” Obama refuted.

SEE ALSO: Twitter Investigating Death Threats By Purported ISIL Affiliate

Although most of the American military action against ISIL has been restricted to Iraq, the President said he would “not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria.”

“If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

In June, the Islamic militant group captured over 100 miles of territory in Iraq in only two days, securing stockpiles of American arms along the way. On Aug. 7, President Obama authorized a series of airstrikes against ISIL after the militant group began to make a push toward thousands of civilians stuck on Mount Sinjar. In the past several weeks, ISIL beheaded two American journalists—James Foley and Steven Sotloff—and distributed the video of the barbaric acts on social media.

“It will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL,” President Obama said. Referencing the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Obama reiterated “it is America that has the capacity to mobilize the world against terrorists.”

Reach Editor-in-Chief Will Federman here. And follow him on Twitter.



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