What Is Obama Doing About ISIS?

ISIS has released several videos of beheading American citizens and Christians from around the world. It was not very long ago that an ISIS video showed the beheading of 21 Christians from Egypt. And now, according to some activist groups, not less than 90 Assyrian Christians have been abducted after the militant organization recently took control of some villages in the northeast part of Syria; the hostages also include several women and children.


The CNN/ORC Survey

As per a recent survey conducted by CNN/ORC, majority of Americans are unhappy about how Obama has been handling the ISIS threat. Even among the Democrats themselves, almost half of them believe that America is not putting up the fight against ISIS in a manner it really should have been. So, what actually is President Barack Obama doing about ISIS?

President Obama’s views on War Against ISIS

Before we move on to the real action on the ground, let’s first have a look at what the president thinks about various specific issues pertaining to ISIS. He recently appeared in a TV interview to discuss his views and thoughts on the ISIS crisis:

On helping female American prisoner held captive by ISIS

For all the hostages taken up by ISIS, American Government has deployed all the necessary machinery and is working with its allies to identify the location. The government is also in contact with the hostages’ family and keeping them updated.

On ISIS gaining more ground in Syria and Iraq after the airstrikes

With the air strikes and logistic support from the US, the Kurdish and Iraqi forces have started pushing back the ISIL. But, instead of directly using the American troops, the U.S. government actually wants to empower Iraq so that it is able to fight the terrorist organization with minimal American help on the ground. So, the war against ISIS is going to take some time.

On why not a direct fight with ISIS

It’s not a big deal for the U.S. government to deploy 200,000 or 300,000 troops and drive back the ISIL terrorists. But as history has shown us, what would happen when we eventually come back? So, unless the affected countries have the will and capacity to take on the terrorists themselves, the gains we make will not last long enough.

On other ways of defeating ISIS more quickly

America is aware of the breakdown of order in the region but at the same it is pretty much sure about its success in containing these terrorist organizations. America is doing anything and everything it could be doing.

Draft Authorization for Use of Force Against ISIS

Obama administration has formally submitted a draft resolution to the Congress asking for an authorization for 3 years for use of force against ISIS. The resolution will allow the president to address ground contingencies in a better and timely manner but it prohibits troop deployment on a large scale.

The draft is broad enough to pronounce the end of the terror organization but at the same time it also addresses the skeptical concerns of not indulging in another Middle East conflict like that of Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a letter accompanying the draft document, the president made it amply clear that local forces would be deployed instead of the U.S. military forces to put up a fight against ISIS. However, the authorization will give flexibility to the government to proceed with combat operations in limited circumstances like rescue of U.S. or coalition personnel, taking direct military action against the leaders of ISIL, etc.

It may be noted that Congress has not approved any such authorization since 2002, when George W. Bush had pushed for air strikes in Iraq. However, as Peter Baker of New York Times put it, the fate of the authorization resolution is not going to change the action on the ground as Obama has made his intentions clear to continue doing exactly the same thing whether or not the draft is passed by the Congress.