President Barack Obama promised Friday to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the militants of ISIS, an organization he claimed was too dangerous to be simply contained. The militant group, also known as ISIS, “poses a long-term threat to the safety and security of NATO members,” Obama said at a press conference in Newport, Wales. “We have a critical role to play in rolling back this savage organization.”
Obama ended the 28-nation NATO summit by asserting there is clear cohesion in dealing with ISIS and that the U.S. is far from going it alone.
Over the last month, President Obama has launched over 100 airstrikes on ISIS targets in Iraq, while, at the same time, Obama’s diplomatic and national security team continues to gather support from international partners on confronting ISIS threats in the Middle East.
“I absolutely do believe that there will be a coalition of countries from the international community, from here in NATO, also from the region where many of the neighbors have stepped up and said they want to be a part of that type of effort,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said in an interview Thursday outside the NATO summit in Wales.
“A lot of these European countries are concerned about the foreign fighters that have gone down to Iraq and Syria who have European passports. So they are very concerned that this threat in Iraq and Syria could end up posing a threat here in Europe,” Rhodes said.
It’s still unclear how an anti-ISIS coalition would take shape. Rhodes suggested participating countries would likely serve in different roles, depending on their capabilities and appetite for a more direct military involvement in the mission. “Intelligence. Law enforcement. Lots of ways for nations to step up to the plate and be a part of this coalition,” Rhodes said.
However it seems President Obama created some a bit of confusion about this strategy at a news conference in Estonia earlier this week when he said his goal was to both “degrade and destroy” ISIS and reduce the group’s threat “to the point where it is a manageable problem.” Rhodes argued there was no inconsistency in the president’s remarks, insisting the mission to defeat ISIS is a multi-step process.
Regarding the Russia problem, NATO leaders approved plans earlier in the day to create a force that could mobilize quickly in case any alliance country in Eastern Europe were to be attacked. Obama declared, “We will defend every ally.” He said the alliance had “sent a strong message to Russia that actions have consequences.”