US-Led Coalition Hitting ISIS ‘Harder Than Ever,’ Obama Says
(ABC News) — As the war against the Islamic State spreads across the globe, President Obama says the U.S.-led coalition is hitting ISIS “harder than ever” and moving forward with its strategy with “a great sense of urgency.”
“As we squeeze its heart we’ll make it harder for ISIL to sell its propaganda to the world,” Obama said following a meeting at the Pentagon with his national security council, using an alternative name for ISIS.
Obama added that his administration continually reassesses its strategy to fight ISIS, not only against trained extremists on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq, but also in the U.S. homeland against radicalized followers.
“ISIL leaders cannot hide and our message to them is ‘you are next,'” Obama said.
President Obama took a rare trip to the Pentagon to chair a National Security Council meeting on the counter-ISIS campaign at the Pentagon, where he says he received an update from his national security team and discussed ways to enhance the U.S.-led coalition’s campaign to degrade and destroy ISIS.
Obama most recently visited the Pentagon July 6 for a similarly rare huddle after he was widely criticized at the time for admitting the United States did not yet have a plan to defeat ISIS. He later outlined a strategy, step-by-step, that he predicted would be a winning approach over time.
But, in the months that followed, a string of terrorist attacks from the Sinai Peninsula to Paris toSan Bernardino, California, have similarly challenged the administration’s approach to countering the growing threat posed by ISIS, which demonstrated its capabilities to wreak havoc outside of Syria and Iraq just days after Obama said ISIS was contained.
Russian military operations have further complicated the coalition’s efforts to support moderate rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Now, after his primetime Oval Office address fell flat, the president’s Pentagon visit is part of a series of events coordinated to show the administration’s comprehensive approach to fighting terrorism in the days leading into the holiday season.
Later this week, Obama will visit the National Counterterrorism Center to learn more about its efforts to track terrorism. With a backdrop of Muslim immigration dominating the presidential campaign trail, the president will also attend a naturalization ceremony Tuesday at the National Archives.