President Barack Obama took to the world stage Monday to herald, among other things, his strategy for dealing with the Islamic State.
“We do not yet have a complete strategy,” Obama said at the G7 summit in Germany, “because it requires commitments on the part of the Iraqis as well, about how recruitment takes place, how that training takes place, and so the details of that are not yet worked out.”
He seems to contend that his strategy (that there is no strategy) depends on the participation and willingness and proficiency of actors otherwise outside of his control — the Iraqis. Odd thing is, as journalists were quick to point out, Obama said pretty much the same exact thing a year ago when the U.S. began its military campaign against ISIS.
Except then he blamed Congress. “We don’t have a strategy yet,” said Obama. “Folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at. …The suggestions seems to have been we’re about to go full-scale on some elaborate strategy for defeating ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] and the suggestion has been we’ll start moving forward imminently and somehow with Congress still out of town, they’ll be left in the dark. That’s not going to happen.”
— David Nakamura (@DavidNakamura) June 8, 2015
Of the current strategy snafu, Obama said war plans were still being reviewed, and that he is waiting for a finalized strategy from defense officials. “When a finalized plan is presented to me by the Pentagon, then I will share it with the American people,” he said.
Obama said the U.S. has “made significant progress in pushing back ISIL from areas in which they had occupied or disrupted local populations.” But Islamic State jihadis have captured key cities in the past month, including Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria.