US President Obama plans to address the nation on Wednesday, promising to “hunt down” Islamic State extremists “wherever they are,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press. The address will take place one day before the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Obama said he believes the Islamic State (IS) – formerly known as ISIS/ISIL – is a serious threat to the American people, but that the US and its allies have the capacity to deal with the militants. However, he admitted that it “would be a profound mistake” to put boots on the ground.
“This is not the equivalent of the Iraq war,” said the president, stressing the need to work with regional partners like Iraq and Kurdish forces, as well as Syrian rebels. Ironically, the forces with the most chance of defeating IS in Syria, he noted, are those of President Bashar Assad, who the West has so far refused to work with.
The president insisted that “over the course of months, we are going to be able to not just blunt the momentum of ISIS. We are going to systematically degrade their capabilities. We’re going to shrink the territory that they control. And that’s how we’re going to defeat them.”