“ISIL is not a caliphate, it’s a crime ring,” said Obama Thursday as he spoke at the State Department. His positive remarks about the fight against the terrorist group come amidst ongoing rumors and reports that the Islamic State is in fact growing in strength and numbers. Is President Obama underestimating a group he once referred to as “junior varsity?”
“Bottom line, there are fewer ISIL fighters on the battle field in Syria and Iraq and for those that are there, it’s harder for them to recruit and replenish their ranks,” Obama argued. “As finances shrink, ISIL is also imposing more taxes and fines on those under its brutal rule. That in turn stokes even more resentment among local populations…”
The President assured his audience that the State Department and its Arab allies are working hard to fight ISIS propaganda. He also added that the Sunni militant group is losing appeal and influence. “It’s a criminal gang pretending to be a state, said one Syrian refugee. They turned out to be thieves, said another,” continued Obama. “They are not winning over hearts and minds and they are under severe pressure.”
Reports suggest, however, that thousands of youth across the world have journeyed to the Middle East to bolter ISIS’ ranks. I can’t help but think that Obama’s words were either meant to placate the public or are based on a legitimate underestimation of what some are calling the biggest terrorist threat to ever face the Western world.
Meanwhile, Obama met with his national security team to discuss future strategies. Obama noted that most of our allies are stepping up the offensive with more resources, but that those same allies must agree to help rebuild the ruins when this is all over.
“The only way to deal with ISIL in a lasting way, in a way that ends their influence, is to end the chaos and the civil war that has engulfed Syria,” said Obama as he argued to negotiate a cease-fire in Syria’s civil war. “That’s how ISIL was able to thrive in the first place. The cessation of hostilities that is scheduled to take effect at midnight tomorrow is a potential step in bringing about an end to the chaos.”