Top US officials say President Barack Obama wants to decide American strategy for combating extremist group Islamic State’s strongholds in Syria. Yet the administration is still scrambling to understand the goals and limits of potential military action.
Top members of the Obama administration have held meetings this week to surmise how expanding a military campaign against Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS) in eastern Syria might play out. American airstrikes have already occurred against IS targets in Iraq, where the jihadist group controls large swaths of the west and north.
Unresolved issues among top national security officials, according to The Daily Beast, include reliability of American intelligence on IS areas in Syria; what the goals and limits of airstrikes would be; and how any military action could be justified legally, politically, and diplomatically.
The purpose of high-level meetings at the White House this week was “to convince one man, Barack Obama,” one administration official told Daily Beast, to follow through with tough talk directed at IS and order strikes against it. Obama held back in ordering strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces roughly one year ago during the height of international tension over the civil war in Syria.