Obama: ISIS ‘one of a number’ of threats

President Obama said in an interview airing Sunday that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria poses a “medium and long-term threat” to the U.S., adding that it’s just one of a number of organizations to monitor.

{mosads}“There are a lot of groups out there that probably have more advanced immediate plans directed against the United States that we have to be on constant guard for,” he told Norah O’Donnell in an interview broadcast on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“The thing about an organization like this is that typically when they control territory, because they’re so violent, because they’re so extreme, over time the local populations reject them,” he added, according to a transcript. “We’ve seen that time and time again.”

Obama said, however, that the ISIS advance demands vigilance.

“Right now, the problem with ISIS is the fact that they’re destabilizing the country. That could spill over into some of our, you know, allies like Jordan and that they are engaged in wars in Syria where – in that vacuum that’s been created – they could amass more arms, more resources,” he said.

“But I think it’s important for us to recognize that ISIS is just one of a number of organizations that we have to stay focused on al-Qaeda in Yemen is still very active and we’re staying focused on that. In North Africa, you’re seeing organizations including Boko Haram that kidnapped all those young women that is extreme and violent.”

Obama called the threat posed by those groups a “global challenge” that the U.S. will have to address with its allies.

“And as I said yesterday, what we can’t do is think that we’re just going to play whack-a-mole and send U.S. troops occupying various countries wherever these organizations pop up. We’re going to have to have a more focused, more targeted strategy and we’re going to have to partner and train local law enforcement and military to do their jobs as well,” he said.

Obama also said that the notion that a moderate rebel force backed by the U.S. could have stopped Syrian President Bashar Assad and ISIS is a “fantasy.”

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