President Barack Obama will deliver a primetime speech to the nation Wednesday night to discuss his “game plan” for “degrading and ultimately defeating” the jihadist group calling itself the Islamic State (also ISIS or ISIL).
“The President will deliver an address to the nation from the State Floor of the White House Wednesday night at 9:00 p.m. to discuss with the American people the threat posed by ISIL and to lay out the United States’ strategy for degrading and ultimately destroying the terrorist group,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement Tuesday.
Obama announced the planned speech on Sunday during an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.” It will come, ironically, exactly one year after his last primetime address to the nation on Sept. 10, 2013, when he talked about the possibility of targeted U.S. airstrikes against Syrian regime targets.
One year later, the situation has changed amid rapid gains from ISIS in both Syria and Iraq. The U.S. has conducted nearly 150 airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq over the past month, and Obama said Sunday it’s time for the U.S. to “start going on some offence” against the group. That could mean an expanded campaign against the group’s targets in Syria.
“The strategy both for Iraq and for Syria is that we will hunt down ISIL members and assets wherever they are,” Obama said Sunday.
Obama is set to meet with congressional leaders on Tuesday to outline his strategy. Obama and the White House have both hinted, however, that he doesn’t think he needs congressional authorization to go after the group on a sustained basis.
On Sunday, Obama previewed his strategy as similar to the U.S. military’s counterterrorism campaigns since he’s been in office. He said there would be important economic, political, and military components to destroying the terror over the long run.
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