Monday, June 23, 2014

ISIS determined to strike in Iraq

Barack Obama last week --

Juliet Eilperin [Washington Post]. Q Mr. President, you just mentioned Syria a moment ago. The United States has been slow to provide significant weapons and training directly to the Syrian opposition. Has the expansion of the Syria war into Iraq changed your mind about the type of weapons and training we’re now willing to give the opposition there? Is that what prompted Secretary Kerry to say of Syria, “We are augmenting our assistance in significant ways”? And can you elaborate on what you are you doing now that you weren’t doing before? 

THE PRESIDENT: That assessment about the dangers of what was happening in Syria have existed since the very beginning of the Syrian civil war. The question has never been whether we thought this was a serious problem. The question has always been, is there the capacity of moderate opposition on the ground to absorb and counteract extremists that might have been pouring in, as well as an Assad regime supported by Iran and Russia that outmanned them and was ruthless.

New York Times today --

At that time the Syria civil war was raging and the scattered remnants of Al Qaeda in Iraq were reconstituting themselves as ISIS. “You could see this coming,” said another administration official. “It was a little dot and it was growing and growing and growing.” But the official said that while some raised alarms, senior levels in Washington were not focused on the implications for Iraq until a year ago.