Skip to main content

Obama: ISIL still a threat despite coalition gains

US President Barack Obama has touted gains in the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but cautioned that the group, also known as ISIS, can still direct and inspire damaging attacks.

Speaking after meeting with top aides at the Pentagon, Obama said on Thursday that ISIL will continue to be a threat, highlighting the group's ability to motivate so-called "lone wolf" supporters to launch small-scale attacks that are harder to detect and prevent.
Confronting ISIL: US-led coalition meets to plan battle

"What ISIL has figured out is that if they can convince a handful of people, or even one person, to carry out an attack on a subway, or at a parade or some other public venue, and kill scores of people as opposed to thousands of people, it still creates the kinds of fear and concern that elevates their profile," Obama said.

ISIL has claimed responsibility for a number of recent mass killings, including a lorry attack in the French city of Nice last month that left 84 dead, and the nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49.

While they may not have been directed by the group, the attackers were reportedly inspired by ISIL.

Obama said the US must do a better job disrupting ISIL networks and intercepting the internet messages that can get to individuals and inspire them to act.

"Those networks are more active in Europe than they are here, but we don't know what we don't know, and so it's conceivable that there are some networks here that could be activated," he said.

Warning on overreaction

Obama cautioned against overreacting to such attacks and rejected efforts to demonise Muslims as a way to make the US safer, in a criticism of Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, who has called for a ban on Muslims entering the country.

"If we start making bad decisions, indiscriminately killing civilians for example in some of those areas, instituting offensive religious tests on who can enter the country, those kinds of strategies can end up backfiring," Obama said.
US to give further support to Iraqi Kurdish forces fighting ISIL

The US is leading a military coalition conducting air strikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria, where the group seized broad swathes of territory in 2014. 

Since then, the coalition has conducted daily plane and drone strikes - more than 14,000 so far - and worked with local forces on the ground to gradually reclaim the seized territory.

Yet, despite the massive effort, ISIL still holds Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, and the Syrian city of Raqqa.

"I am pleased with the progress that we've made on the ground in Iraq and Syria," Obama said, but added: "We're far from freeing Mosul and Raqqa."

He also criticised Russia for failing "to take the necessary steps" to try to reduce violence in Syria, saying it was time for Russia  "to show that it is serious" about bringing peace.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, offering international cover, military aid and carrying out air strikes in opposition-held areas.

Obama said the US remains prepared to work with Russia, adding, however, that he was not confident Russia or Putin could be trusted.

"The depravity of the Syrian regime has rightly earned the condemnation of the world," Obama said.

"Russia's direct involvement in these actions over the last several weeks raises very serious questions about their commitment to pulling the situation back from the brink."

Earlier this week, Obama also announced a new front in the war, ordering air strikes against ISIL fighters' positions in the Libyan city of Sirte.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies



Must Read : Radio & TV Host Anita Erskine Pens Down A Letter To Rashida Black Beauty

We woke up to this masterpiece online, a LETTER of Starr FM’s award-winning media queen and Women’s advocate, Anita Erskine has written a letter to Rashida Black Beauty .. Just like a carousel, the maiden is still in her spinning stage and like mother eagle, Anita sees the future that Rashida someday can become a fabric of a building, thus, she wants her to, “…come and let’s talk – one on one.”

Akufo-Addo's presidential kiss with wife Rebecca Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo delivered the 2019 State of the Nation Address on Thursday, February 21 in Parliament.

Serena Williams explains why she chose to marry a White man

A lot of Black people have criticized tennis champion Serena Williams and her sister Venus Williams for marrying and dating White men, instead of sticking with Black brothers. The mother-of-one has now explained her reason for marrying Alexis Ohanian.

Photos and Videos from Kennedy Osei and Tracy’s royal wedding

It was all glitz, glamour and fancy cars at Trassaco Estate as the General Manager of Despite Media and son of Ghanaian business mogul, Osei Kwame Despite, Kennedy Osei traditionally marries his girlfriend Tracy.

Anger as teenagers gang rape video goes viral

A Whatsapp video of four teenage boys allegedly gang raping a young girl has sparked outrage on social media with many Ghanaians calling on the security agencies to crack the whip.
The about five minutes video shows an underage girl pinned to a mattress by one of her abusers while his accomplices take turns to perform sexual acts on her.

2017 WomanRising 100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women Announced

WomanRising, a flagship network of The African Network of Entrepreneurs (TANOE) has announced its annual list of the 100 Most Influential Women in Ghana (100 MIWG) for 2017.

Ghanaian female scientist, Dr. Priscilla Kolibea Mante receives international award for research

Five outstanding Laureates, one from each continent, were honoured for their significant contribution to science. These exceptional women were recognised for the excellence of their research in the fields of material science, mathematics and computer science and they will each receive €100,000. Their achievements were celebrated alongside 15 International Rising Talents who are promising young women scientists from across the world at an awards ceremony on 14th March 2019 at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.

Uganda telecom operators to start charging social media tax

Uganda’s major telecom operators, including the local division of South Africa’s MTN Group, said they will ask customers to pay a new government tax on social media accounts before they can access them.

Queen Latifah's longtime girlfriend Eboni Nichols spotted with a baby bump as she confirms they are expecting their first child

Over the weekend, news surfaced online that rapper, actress and TV host, Queen Latifah is expecting her first child with her longtime girlfriend Eboni Nichols.

Angolan president's son buys 500,000 euro watch at Cannes

The son of Angola's President Jose dos Santos has been filmed at an auction buying a 500,000 watch. 
The auctioneer was the US actor Will Smith and you can hear him saying (at 44 seconds) "he looks way too young to have 500,000 euros" as Danilo dos Santos gets to the stage.