President Obama said Monday the U.S. does not have a “complete strategy” for training and recruiting Iraqi forces to ultimately defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, or ISIS.
“We do not yet have a complete strategy,” Obama said, shifting part of the blame to leaders in Iraq who he said also needed to make commitments in regard to training before a plan could be finalized.
Speaking during a wide-ranging press conference following the G7 summit, a gathering of leaders of the world’s biggest economies, Obama said the U.S. is “reviewing a range of plans” to properly train Iraqi forces.
The President said “significant progress had been made” in pushing back against ISIS as the terror group gains more stronghold in parts of Iraq in Syria but that the U.S. needed to improve the “speed at which we’re training Iraqi forces” and efforts to recruit forces for training.
Obama’s previous statements about not having a plan to defeat ISIS have been the source of political contention for quite some time. Monday’s statements came in the wake of discussions with world leaders and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq about the world’s efforts to defeat the terror group as they’re reach in the region grows.
Obama and Abadi met for a meeting earlier on Monday where Obama said the U.S. would continue to provide assistance to the Iraqi people though no additional military commitments were made. The Prime Minister has been vocal about the need for more assistance from the U.S., saying recently Obama and other leaders are not doing enough to fight the terror group.
“As long Minister Abadi and the government stay committed to an inclusive approach,” Obama said while meeting with the Prime Minister. “I am absolutely confident that we will be successful.”
The effort to defeat ISIS was a major topic of discussion at the G7 summit, as was the ongoing sanctions regime against Russia. Obama said Monday that there was a “strong consensus” among G7 partners that they need to keep pushing Russia and Ukraine to agree to the terms laid out in the Minsk agreements, but until those obligations are met sanctions will remain in place
The people of Russia, Obama said, are “suffering” under the sanctions, but the “best way for them to stop suffering is if the Minsk agreement is fully implemented.”