(Updated June 21, 2014)

In a televised speech today, President Obama outlined the goals of his administration for Iraq (and in some part Syria). Following this transcript, we have some comments pulled from an Iraqi minister from a radio broadcast today on NPR. (Note: bold text added for emphasis by us.)

Obama Speech Iraq

President Obama addresses the press corps today about the serious situation developing in Iraq and Syria about ISIS (ISIL).

First, we are working to secure our embassy and personnel operating inside of Iraq. As president, I have no greater priority than the safety of our men and women serving overseas. So I’ve taken some steps to relocate some of our embassy personnel, and we’ve sent reinforcements to better secure our facilities.

Second, at my direction we have significantly increased our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets so that we’ve got a better picture of what’s taking place inside of Iraq, and this will give us a greater understanding of what ISIL is doing, where it’s located and how we might support efforts to counter this threat.

Third, the United States will continue to increase our support to Iraqi security forces. We’re prepared to create joint operation centers in Baghdad and northern Iraq, to share intelligence and coordinate planning to confront the terrorist threat of ISIL. And through our new Counterterrorism Partnership Fund, we’re prepared to work with Congress to provide additional equipment. We have had advisers in Iraq through our embassy, and we’re prepared to send a small number of additional American military advisers — up to 300 — to assess how we can best train, advise and support Iraqi security forces going forward.

Fourth, in recent days we’ve positioned additional U.S. military assets in the region. Because of our increased intelligence resources, we’re developing more information about potential targets associated with ISIL, and going forward, we will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it. If we do, I will consult closely with Congress and leaders in Iraq and in the region. I want to emphasize, though, that the best and most effective response to a threat like ISIL will ultimately involve partnerships where local forces like Iraqis take the lead.

Finally, the United States will lead a diplomatic effort to work with Iraqi leaders and the countries in the region to support stability in Iraq. At my direction, Secretary Kerry will depart this weekend for meetings in the Middle East and Europe, where he’ll be able to consult with our allies and partners. And just as all Iraqis’ neighbors must respect Iraq’s territorial integrity, all of Iraq’s neighbors have a vital interest in ensuring that Iraq does not descend into civil war or become a safe haven for terrorists.

[Tweet “President #Obama and #Iraqi Representative Speak Out About #ISIS (#ISIL)”]

Earlier today on NPR, an unidentified Iraqi minister made these comments when asked if the USA should commit to using air strikes against ISIS.  (We will try to find out who it was exactly. I missed it on the radio show while I was driving and also I am going to have to paraphrase this until we can get the transcript.)

The USA will need to employ it’s air force for targeted strikes against these militants and for intelligence for use by the combined Iraqi police and military forces. There will also need to be US Special Forces on the ground to help coordinate these strikes with the Iraqi troops to make the attacks effective.  The new Islamic state under sharia law poses a serious threat to the stability of the region and the Iraqi people as well as the interests of the United States and its allies.

 isis uk terrorists

British jihadi ISIS fighters post chilling YouTube video

(source: UK Mirror)

A shocking video nasty appeared online today showing armed British fanatics in Syria preaching terror and trying to promote jihad to Muslim worshippers back in the UK.

The men urged would-be fighters to quit western lifestyles and join ISIS – the fastest-growing militant group in the world. The 13 minutes of footage – uploaded to YouTube and since removed by the video sharing website “as a violation of YouTube’s policy on violence” – emerged as sources revealed the main priority for MI5 is tracking down the British jihadists.

The film, professionally shot and edited, shows men sitting before the black Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham flag. They are holding AK47 rifles and reciting Islamist slogans and passages from the Koran. One man, Abu Bara Al Hindi, insists joining the group will cure the stress and “depression” of living in the West.

He claims to be British and says in an English accent: “Are you willing to sacrifice the job you’ve got, the big car you’ve got, the family you have? Are you willing to sacrifice this, for the sake of Allah?”

“Then if you sacrifice something for Allah, Allah will give you 700 times more than this.” Another militant says: “You are going to die anyway.

 

isis-loyalwomenmarchThe March of ISIS

(source: AP – Boston Globe)

“The capture of the two towns — Qaim on the Syrian border Friday and Rawah on the Euphrates river Saturday— dealt another blow to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government, which has struggled to push back against Islamic extremists and allied militants who have seized large swaths of the country’s north, including the second-largest city of Mosul.

“But while al-Maliki has come under mounting pressure to reach out to disaffected Kurds and Sunnis, the display of heavy weapons by the Shiite fighters indicated that forces beyond Baghdad’s control may be pushing the conflict toward a sectarian showdown.”

The Threat of ISIS and US Special Forces

The  threat of ISIS seems to be growing every day and now accounts are saying this group has been working in Syria and Iraq for as long as a year or more.  The threat of the creation of new Ottoman Empire under a puritanical Sharia Law is a threat to the peace process in the Middle East as well as any hopes for democracy in the region.  It sounds like the USA will need to act to stop the spread of this terrorist organization, but what response is needed and in what scale is the question.

The White House has said that “we are not going to act as the Iraqi Air Force” but it seems that the Iraqi Air Force does not have the training or equipment to handle this kind of threat.  The USAF and the US Special Forces have the tools, training and ability to deliver a crushing blow to the forces of ISIS.

USAF Combat Control

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What do you think the USA response should be to ISIS?  Should we be putting any boots on the ground? Should we be washing our hands of it all?  Should we commit to Air and Naval force strikes? Intelligence only?  Let us know in the comments below!