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Obama to address nation, as NATO & Arab League pledge support to defeat IS

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Obama to address nation on action against Islamic State

United States president, Barack Obama, has made his most detailed comments on the threats posed by the Islamic State (IS), a jihadist terror group which is waging war in Iraq and Syria to establish a caliphate in the region.

“I’m preparing the country to make sure that we deal with a threat from” the Islamic State, Obama said in an interview broadcast Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” programme.

“What I want people to understand is that over the course of months, we are going to be able to not just blunt the momentum [of the militants], we are going to systematically degrade their capabilities; we’re going to shrink the territory that they control; and, ultimately, we’re going to defeat them,” Mr Obama said.

Earlier, the US announced that it has put together a “core coalition” of 10 countries - Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark – to fight the IS. (See here.)

"I did not get any resistance or pushback to the basic notion that we have a critical role to play in rolling back this savage organization that is causing so much chaos in the region and is harming so many people and poses a long-term threat to the safety and security of NATO members," Obama said at a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) on 5 September.

The Times newspaper reported:

"United States officials said they also expected Saudi Arabia to provide money and aid for moderate Syrian rebel groups. Yousef al-Otaiba, the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States, said in a statement earlier this week that the United Arab Emirates stood ready to join the fight against ISIS. 'No one has more at stake than the U.A.E. and other moderate countries in the region that have rejected the regressive Islamist creed and embraced a different, forward-looking path,' the ambassador said. The Emiratis, he said, are 'ready to join the international community in an urgent, coordinated and sustained effort to confront a threat that will, if unchecked, have global ramifications for decades to come.' "

On Sunday, the Arab League announced that they were backing the US-led effort to push back the jihadist militant group.

The foreign ministers from the league met in Cairo over the weekend to express support for the international action against IS.

The Arab League condemned Islamic State as a corrupt, immoral enterprise engaging in crimes against humanity.

The Arab countries also endorsed a United Nations Security Council resolution last month which aims to stem the flow of military equipment to extremists operating in Iraq and Syria.

The UN too has condemned the IS and said it is guilty of crimes against humanity.

“The next phase is now to start going on some offense,” Obama said in the interview on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd. “There’s going to be an economic element to this. There’s going to be a political element to it. There’s going to be a military element to it.”

Mr Obama, however, has ruled out putting US boots on the ground in the effort to defeat IS.

“This is not the equivalent of the Iraq War,” he said, referring to the war which saw thousands of US troops deployed to defeat Saddam Hussein.

“The boots on the ground have to be Iraqi and in Syria, the boots on the ground have to be Syrian,” Mr Obama said.

The US president had said on 5 September that the IS has been “to some degree, outgunned and outmanned.”

“And that's why it's important for us to work with our friends and allies to support them more effectively," Obama said.

The United States launched a new series of airstrikes against IS on Saturday to stop the militants from seizing the Haditha Dam on the Euphrates River and prevent the possibility of floodwaters being unleashed toward the capital, Baghdad.

Mr Obama will be addressing the people of the United States on Wednesday, to make his case for the US-led campaign, supported by NATO and Arab League countries, against IS.

It is time for the US to "start going on some offense", Mr Obama said.

Here is the interview on Meet The Press: