Islamic State: Barack Obama to reveal the US 'game plan' against militants in Iraq and Syria

Obama says will put America 'on offence' when his plan to tackle IS is revealed on Wednesday

Adam Withnall
Sunday 07 September 2014 17:53 BST
Barack Obama speaks at the Nato summit in Wales
Barack Obama speaks at the Nato summit in Wales (AFP)

Barack Obama has revealed that the US is to go "on offence" against Islamic State (IS), and that he will this week set out his nation's "plan" to combat the rise of the militant group.

The US President has come in for widespread criticism in recent weeks after he told reporters "we don't have a strategy yet" to tackle the group, who he said could become a threat to America itself if left unchecked.

Mr Obama is due to speak on Wednesday a day before the anniversary of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, when almost 3,000 people were killed by al-Qaeda militants.

There he will "describe what our game plan's going to be," having met with congressional leaders on Tuesday to seek their backing.

Speaking in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press", Mr Obama said: "I just want the American people to understand the nature of the threat and how we're going to deal with it and to have confidence that we'll be able to deal with it."

He added: "The next phase is now to start going on some offence."

Mr Obama stressed that there was no "immediate intelligence" to suggest a danger on US soil, but warned that the large number of foreign fighters from Western nations within IS ranks could become a threat "over time".

He ruled out sending US ground troops to fight in Iraq or Syria, saying that "this is not the equivalent of the Iraq war", and hailed the coalition he spent time building last week at a Nato meeting in Wales.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are engaged in a mission in the region to flesh out the plan of action, and Mr Obama said: "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."

Meanwhile, David Cameron is preparing a diplomatic charm offensive to build widespread Arab support for Western military action against IS in both Iraq and Syria.

The Prime Minister is due to travel to New York in the week after the Scottish referendum for a series of bilateral meeting with Arab leaders who are attending the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting.

In Iraq, the US today launched a new wave of air strikes against IS at the request of the Iraqi government, which contributed to the successful defence of a strategically vital hydroelectric dam.

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