No plan to send more US troops abroad to fight IS: Obama
Updated: 2015-07-07 09:12
US President Barack Obama (R) acknowledges Defense Secretary Ash Carter (L) in his remarks after a briefing on US efforts against the Islamic State (ISIS), at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia July 6, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama said Monday that local forces should be the main forces to fight the extremist group the Islamic State (IS) and currently there was no plan for his administration to send more US troops abroad.
Obama told reporters after being briefed by US military leadership on the status of US-led coalition campaign that to succeed in the long-term fight against the IS, "we have to develop local security forces that can sustain progress."
"This will not be quick. This is a long-term campaign," said Obama. "ISIL is opportunistic, and it is nimble." ISIl is another acronym of the extremist group.
Meanwhile, Obama said the training of local anti-IS forces, touted by the administration as the linchpin of the US anti-IS strategy together with air strikes, "was moving too slowly," echoing previous remarks made by US military leadership that US training efforts in Iraq against IS "have far been slowed."
The rare visit to the Pentagon came as Obama, though insisting he would not send US "boots on the ground", was enhancing the US military involvement in Iraq to help combat IS fighters by adding another 450 military trainers and advisors to help Iraqi troops to retake Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar province, which fell to IS in May.
Currently, there are about 3,550 US military personnel in Iraq.
Obama's anti-IS strategy came under scrupulous scrutiny after the fall of the crucial Iraqi city Ramadi. As IS suicide bombers were approaching Ramadi in May, Iraqi forces stationed in the city fled without fighting. After the incident, the US military let out a gush of criticism, accusing the Iraqis of lacking "will to fight."
Also, after the incident, Obama admitted in June that nine months into the US-led coalition's campaign against the IS, there was not a complete strategy to combat the group.