President Barack Obama has undertaken the weighty task of taken on Islamic State militants in Syria amid troubles on the domestic front. Over the weekend, Mr. Obama stated that U.S. Intelligence authorities underestimated the planning and capabilities of the militants in the region.
In a 60 Minutes interview this Sunday, President Obama spoke directly to the ongoing conflict in the region as American airstrikes are underway to weaken the Islamic State, also referred to as ISIS or ISIL, forces. Attacks began in Iraq last month and have spread to Syria. The idea behind the tactic was to take out key points of defense held by the Islamic State and aid rebel fighters on the ground as well.
Ray Story reports:
Citing earlier comments by James Clapper, director of national intelligence, Obama acknowledged that U.S. intelligence underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.
Islamic militants went underground when U.S. Marines quashed al Qaeda in Iraq with help from Iraq’s tribes, he said.
“But over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you have huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos,” Obama said according to a clip of the interview broadcast earlier.
“And so this became ground zero for jihadists around the world.”
The Islamic State has in recent times been recognized as a potential global threat not unlike Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups. President Obama says the U.S. military will continue to remove the militants forcibly, but did add that a diplomatic solution in the region will truly bring about peace.
Watch a portion of the 60 Minutes interview below.