Obama defends his strategy against the Islamic State, saying it will ‘take time’

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Obama speaks about the Islamic State and refugees following the Paris attacks

President Obama made remarks and answered questions at the G-20 summit in Turkey on Nov. 13. Here’s what he said about the path forward fighting the Islamic State, welcoming Muslims and protecting Syrian refugees. (AP)
November 16  
The carnage of the Paris attacks and the largely stalemated war in Iraq and Syria have prompted heavy criticism of President Obama’s handling of the fight against the Islamic State over the past three years.The questions came in waves Monday at the Group of 20 summit in Antalya, Turkey: Hadn’t Obama underestimated the threat posed by the Islamic State? Wasn’t it time for a new and more aggressive attack plan? Did he really understand the group well enough to defeat it and protect the United States?

“All right,” Obama replied to the last question, his tone betraying utter indignation. “So this is a variation on the same question. . . . Let me try it one last time.”

In response to each of the questions posed by reporters, Obama made his case for a steady and persistent campaign that seeks to gradually shrink the Islamic State’s territory in Iraq and Syria with airstrikes, slowly build up indigenous ground forces and press for renewed diplomatic negotiations to end Syria’s civil war.

The questions reflected concerns following the Paris attacks — which killed 129 people and led France’s president to promise a “merciless” response — that Obama had missed opportunities to defeat the group when it was still gaining strength.


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