President Obama’s strategy to battle ISIS

Phase 1: airstrikes in Iraq against ISIS targets

WASHINGTON, DC (CNN) – A new ISIS video shows the terror group’s threat in alarming detail. Filming from their drones in the sky, ISIS takes a Syrian air base with military precision.

Fearing the same success against the crucial Haditha Dam in central Iraq, the U.S. military launched yet another punishing air campaign to halt their progress.

Now, President Obama will outline a longer-term battle plan, lasting, U.S. officials tell CNN, as long as three years.

Pres. Obama said, “We are going to be able to not just blunt the momentum of ISIS, we are going to systematically degrade their capabilities, we’re going to shrink the territory they control. Ultimately we’re going to defeat them.”

Phase 1, airstrikes in Iraq against ISIS targets, a campaign already under way. Phase 2, train and equip Iraqi and Kurdish forces to defeat ISIS on the ground. Phase 3, eliminate ISIS safe havens inside Syria. And the U.S. will attempt to build a broad coalition to combat ISIS, including in the region.

Secretary John Kerry is visiting there this week to help recruit allies in the fight. Already, Canada, like the U.S., is sending military advisors to assist Kurdish forces. The U.K., Germany and Italy are sending weapons to the Kurds, and Australia is providing airlift capacity. Together, it is an unprecedented campaign, unlike even the assault on al Qaeda which is at 13 years and counting.

Ben Connable of Rand Corporation said, “ISIS is fundamentally different. They have held a lot of territory. They have a military structured organization so they present more of a target. The question is what will happen after the military targets are destroyed, after the tanks are gone, after the armored personnel carriers are gone. Where do we take the campaign from there?”

The president will be acting with greater American public support for military action. A new CNN poll found that 50% of Americans say they are ready and willing for military action as a general rule, and 90 percent say they see ISIS specifically as a threat to the U.S.

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