Obama's ISIL strategy flawed

Ronald Crelinsten

Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama outlined a strategy to deal with the Islamic State, also known as ISIL. Developments since then, however, suggest that implementation of this strategy will face many obstacles, some perhaps insurmountable.

Much of the tone of Obama’s Sept. 10 speech seemed designed to counter vociferous domestic criticism that his response to the Islamist threat has been hesitant and wishy-washy. The first point in his announced plan, “a systematic campaign of airstrikes” in both Iraq and Syria, directly addresses this concern.

Ironically, airstrikes may play into ISIL’s hands, strengthening their support among Sunnis in both Syria and Iraq, and attracting more foreign fighters. The gruesome videos of Western hostages being beheaded, including the latest one of British aid worker David Haines released this past weekend, are likely designed to provoke just such an escalation.

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