Friday 19 January 2018

President Obama declares US will destroy Islamic State group

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama declared that the US-led military coalition will succeed in destroying the Islamic State group, as he asked Congress for fresh war powers.

Speaking at the White House, he said the draft authorisation he sent Congress earlier in the day does not call for the deployment of ground forces. He said that would not be necessary to fight IS, also known as Isis or Isil, although he left open the possibility that he could deploy special forces in limited circumstances.

"It is not the authorisation of another ground war like Afghanistan or Iraq," he said, seeking to differentiate military efforts under his watch from the unpopular wars the US launched under his predecessor, George W Bush.

Mr Obama said the mission against IS is difficult and will stay that way for some time - particularly as coalition forces seek to rout the militants from urban areas in Iraq and Syria. But he said the coalition was firmly on the offensive, vowing that "Isil is going to lose."

"Our coalition is strong, our cause is just, and our mission will succeed," he said.

The initial reaction to his authorisation request in Congress was bipartisan scepticism. Republicans expressed unhappiness that he chose to exclude any long-term commitment of ground forces, while some Democrats voiced dismay that he had opened the door to deployment at all.

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