On the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, President Obama made a statement to unveil his administration's strategy to tackle IS/ISIL.
This is a brief comment on some of the most significant passages in POTUS' statement:
- "But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region."
This is probably the most important piece of the whole statement: president Obama reiterated that it's time for Arab nations to participate more in the designs of Muslim nations in the Middle East region. Gulf countries are one of the West's top weapon customers, and for long we have been wondering about the true purpose behind such purchases (beyond the usual explanation "to guard royal families"); therefore, while POTUS is telling Arab partners that the time has come for them to make use of their "toys" to fix the problems they vastly helped to create, he is also pushing them towards military-policy transparency.
America isn't willing to fall in the same entrapments and then be blamed for all the Muslim woes in the region, any longer.
- "I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. [That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq.]"
The structure of this passage is very interesting: it is divided by a period.
In the first element, POTUS vows to hunt down terrorists who threaten the US "wherever they are" period - signifying that America will conduct a deep counter-terrorism (CT) operation both domestically and internationally.
In the second element, POTUS curiously mentions Syria first and then Iraq (where CT missions are being carried out as we speak); this apparent distraction confirms the previous analysis - the US will go beyond the stated borders and we are about to witness a new age of CT approaches (although not necessarily new tactics).
- "Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I call on Congress again to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. (..) we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all. "
Who is exactly that Syrian opposition that would be a recipient of military equipment? Wasn't it under that same premise that America ended up training rebel elements, in Jordan, that now are fighting in ISIL's ranks? Politically speaking, president Obama is indicating to whoever succeeds Bashar Al-Assad that America has supported a regime change.
But it would be interesting if the officials, working closely with the president, would take into account the following information (given by sources in Syria): "We believe that these so-called moderate rebels that people want our administration to support, one of them sold [Steven Sotloff] probably for something between $25,000 and $50,000 to Isis, and that was the reason he was captured”.
At the same time, we have to commend the president for not using that nefarious term "moderate" since President Erdogan himself stated "These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it."
- "Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists. It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny."
Taking a swipe at European indecisiveness. The US, under President Obama, has given the opportunity to other countries to lead, to take fate into their own hands with American assistance. The European Union did not take that opportunity, despite having spent years accusing America of meddling in every single world affair.
Europe is now the first target of terrorist attacks - the US is giving them intel on their own jihadist nationals and on sleeping cells; Europe allowed the situation in Ukraine to unravel - the US was the one to step forward and lead a series of diplomatic coercive measures against Russia.
The European Union pulled America back to a position of World Leader. How ironic is that?
- "America, our endless blessings bestow an enduring burden. But as Americans, we welcome our responsibility to lead. From Europe to Asia, from the far reaches of Africa to war-torn capitals of the Middle East, we stand for freedom, for justice, for dignity."
In these past 4 years and a half, the US has sat back to see who would step forward and lead a free world. No one did.
Ladies & gentlemen, the United States of America are back in action. President Obama has finally realised that he cannot lead from behind.
(NB: it was interesting to see how POTUS made sure to make a distinction between Iraqi forces and Kurdish ones: possibly an indication that we may have a 194th state in the UN soon)