Tags: Emerging Threats | Iraq | Iraq in Crisis | ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | Syria | War on Terrorism

Campaign to Destroy ISIS Could Take Years

Image: Campaign to Destroy ISIS Could Take Years
Islamic State fighters in Syria's northern Raqqa province. (Stringer/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Monday, 08 Sep 2014 08:02 AM

The Obama administration is gearing up for a campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) that is expected to take up to three years to complete, The New York Times reported.

According to senior officials, the operation will be conducted in three phases, continuing past the end of President Barack Obama's term in office, but as the president has previously stressed, there are no plans to use ground troops.

"What I want people to understand is that over the course of months, we are going to be able to not just blunt the momentum" of the Islamic State. "We are going to systematically degrade their capabilities; we're going to shrink the territory that they control; and, ultimately, we're going to defeat them," Obama said in an interview aired Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

The first phase of the mission, currently underway, has consisted of airstrikes to halt the advance of the extremist group and protect religious minorities as well as American diplomatic, intelligence, and military personnel.

Phase two will be intended to train, advise, and equip the Iraqi military, Kurdish fighters, and possibly members of Sunni tribes, and is expected to begin after Iraq forms a more inclusive government, which is scheduled for this week.

The last part of the offensive would destroy the group's military capabilities inside Syria, with a campaign lasting at least 36 months. This part of the operation is expected to be the most politically controversial, according to the Times.

Meanwhile, the administration is working to solidify an international coalition to join the effort. Officials say that the countries committed to varying levels of help include Britain, Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is also working to secure the support of Turkey, whose location is seen as strategically crucial to stopping foreign fighters from joining ISIS and allowing the American military to launch operations from bases in the country.

Differences, however, are expected to emerge on the issue of airstrikes in Syria.

"Everybody is on board Iraq," one administration official told the Times. "But when it comes to Syria, there's more concern" about where airstrikes could lead.

At the same time, the official said the administration expects countries to ultimately agree to the plan because "there's really no other alternative."


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The Obama administration is gearing up for a campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) that is expected to take up to three years to complete, The New York Times reported.
ISIS, Iraq, Syria, Obama, Islamic State, destroy, campaign
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2014-02-08
Monday, 08 Sep 2014 08:02 AM
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