Obama to address nation on ISIS in prime time

President Obama will address the nation about his strategy for confronting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) during a prime-time address Wednesday evening.

Obama will give the 9 p.m. speech from the State Floor of the White House and “lay out the United States’ strategy for degrading and ultimately destroying the terrorist group,” press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

{mosads}The speech will follow consultations with congressional leaders Tuesday afternoon at the White House, and the president’s trip to Europe last week where he lobbied world leaders to join an international effort against ISIS. Obama also shared dinner with a group of senior foreign policy advisers and academics Monday night as he looks to firm up his approach to combat the radical Islamist group.

On Monday, Earnest sidestepped questions about whether the president would unveil new policy initiatives as part of the address or simply summarize the threat and actions he had already authorized against ISIS.

“I wouldn’t rule out that there might be something new in the speech,” Earnest said. “But the principal goal here is to make sure that people understand what the clear stake is for the American people and our nation in this ongoing violence that we’re seeing in Iraq and Syria. He also wants to describe what sort of tools are at the disposal of the American government as they try to protect our interests and our people in the region.”

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the administration was weighing a major acceleration of airstrikes against the terror group in Iraq, which would target logistics hubs and supply lines utilized by ISIS. The strikes would also assist forces loyal to the central government in Baghdad to retake territory lost to the terror group.

Obama is also considering whether to expand those airstrikes into Syria, where ISIS is headquartered. The administration is thought to be more cautious of such a move because the U.S. intelligence has less of a foothold there, strikes could benefit the Assad regime and doing so could raise prickly new questions about congressional authorization.

Recent polling has suggested widespread support for strikes against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria, reflecting rising concerns about the group’s threat to the United States.

Republican leaders including Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called on the president to clearly outline his objectives in Wednesday’s address.

“Until we have a strategy there’s no reason to talk about any of the specifics,” Boehner told reporters on Tuesday. “I’m looking for a strategy from the president that takes on this terrorist threat and defeats it.” 

Tags Barack Obama Iraq Islamic State in Iraq and Syria John Boehner Syria

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