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Obama Touts U.S. Strikes on ISIL, But Can Military Escalation Make Up for Failed Strategy?


President Obama has claimed progress in fighting the self-proclaimed Islamic State, while urging U.S. allies to do more. On Monday, Obama touted the gains of the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq and Syria while offering an implicit rebuke of Middle East allies, omitting them from the nations he named that are helping the campaign. Obama’s comments come amid a quietly expanding U.S. military presence on the ground, with dozens of special forces recently deployed to Iraq and Syria. The United States also is increasing its role in global talks on the Syrian civil war, with Secretary of State John Kerry beginning a multi-nation visit today in Russia. Even if ISIL is losing ground from U.S.-led strikes, Obama’s comments highlight a dangerous predicament laid bare in recent weeks: While the coalition says its bombings will help stop future ISIL terrorism, ISIL says those bombings will lead to more terrorist attacks. We are joined by Gilbert Achcar, Middle East expert, author and professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

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