Republican House Speaker John Boehner has characteristically come out with his opinion that the U.S. may have "no choice" but to send American troops to fight ISIL if Obama's strategy fails.
Obama himself acknowledged on Sunday that U.S. intelligence agencies have underestimated the threat from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant or ISIL, and overestimated the ability and will of Iraq's army to fight.
Obama acknowledged during a CBS "60 Minutes" interview that aired Sunday night that the U.S.-led military campaign against ISIL and al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria is actually helping Syrian president Bashar Assad.
Obama said: "I recognize the contradiction in a contradictory land and a contradictory circumstance." He attempted to clarify his position with "We are not going to stabilize Syria under the rule of Assad. On the other hand, in terms of immediate threats to the United States, ISIL, the Khorasan Group — those folks could kill Americans."
To defeat ISIL, Obama has acknowledged, would require a competent local ground force, something no analyst predicts will surface any time soon in Syria, despite U.S. plans to arm and train "moderate" rebels. The U.S. has said it does not intend to cooperate with the Assad government.
"Right now, we've got a campaign plan that has a strong chance for success—in Iraq," the president said. "Syria is a more challenging situation."
Follow this carefully, if you can! When Obama was asked about how ISIL had come to control so much territory in Syria and Iraq, the president said that during the Iraq war, U.S. military forces with the help of Iraq's Sunni tribes were able to quash Al-Qaeda fighters, who went "back underground."
"During the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you have huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos."
Al Quaeda and ISIL have been busy fighting each other! In an interview published early this year by The New Yorker, Obama minimized ISIL by comparing it to a junior varsity basketball team. The President is masking his intent against Syria with his soft focus on Iraq!
"We are assisting Iraq in a battle that's taking place on their soil, with their troops," the president has said. "This is America leading the international community to assist a country with whom we have a security partnership."
Obama said the other day that the west is going to see for some time the possibility that in a whole bunch of different countries, radical groups may spring up, particularly in countries that are still relatively fragile, where you had sectarian tensions, where you don't have a strong state security apparatus."
But "rather than play whack-a-mole and send U.S. troops wherever this occurs we've got to get Arab and Muslim leaders to say very clearly: `These folks do not represent us. They do not represent Islam."'
The most recent airstrikes have hit three makeshift oil refineries in Syria's Raqqa province early on Sunday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain, said the attacks occurred shortly after midnight, adding that they also hit a plastic factory.
"These so-called refineries are not a real target, and they do not weaken Islamic State as they do not have any financial value for them," Rami Abdelrahman of the Observatory has told Reuters.
The installations contained trucks with equipment to separate diesel and petrol used by civilians." Abdel-rahman said that destroying the makeshift refineries has led to a sharp increase in the price of diesel, adding that for residents in Syria's northern Aleppo province, for example, the price has more than doubled. Hitting these refineries has affected ordinary people," he said.
It is emerging that ISIL has actually gained support among other fighters following the attacks, including from rival groups. Scores of fighters have left Al-Qaeda's Nusra Front and other armed groups in Syria to join ISIL since the strikes started. The Nusra Front appears to be ready to reconcile with ISIL.
Nusra spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri made this dire threat in an audio message published on the group's social media network on Saturday, "These countries (meaning the US & the coalition) have done a despicable act that will put them on the list of those targeted by jihadist forces all over the world."
Although Asya Abdullah, a senior official in Syria's dominant Kurdish political party welcomed the U.S.-led coalition that bombed ISIL positions Saturday and said that Kurds were ready to work with the alliance to fight ISIL, nevertheless ISIL is still pressing hard on the Kurdish city of Kobane.
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