On September 10, 2014, the President articulated America’s 4-part plan for fighting terrorism. Though ISIL was singled out for its activities in Iraq and Syria, the plan is intended to address any form of terrorism in the world.
ISIL was first described. A former al Qaeda affiliate in Iraq, that has seized large tracts of Iraq and Syria, ISIL calls itself the “Islamic State,” though it is neither Islamic nor a state. Uniquely brutal in its approach, ISIL executes prisoners, kills children, subjugates women through enslavement, rape and forced marriage, and threatens genocide for religious minorities. Our intelligence community believes that some Europeans and Americans have joined ISIL in Syria and Iraq, possibly planning to return to their home countries to perform terrorist attacks. Obviously, ISIL has garnered particular attention and anti-terrorist actions, though the 4-part plan is dedicated to worldwide terrorism.
First, the United States will wage systematic airstrikes against terrorists, a tactic already used against ISIL with some success, and will hunt down terrorists threatening America wherever they are.
Secondly, we will increase our support for ground forces in Iraq and Syria. In Iraq, we will send an addition 475 service members, in addition to the several hundred service members deployed in June 2014, to provide training, intelligence and equipment to Iraqi Security Forces. In Syria, we will strengthen our assistance to the opposition forces, providing training, intelligence and equipment for their fight against ISIL. However, in neither Iraq nor Syria will we commit our troops for combat.
Third, we will work with the international community to defund terrorists, enhance our intelligence, strengthen defenses, counter terrorist ideology and stop the flow of foreign fighters into and out of the Middle East.
Fourth, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians, including Sunni and Shia Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities, displaced by ISIL.
In all 4 aspects of our strategy against terrorism, we will cooperate with “a broad coalition of partners” from around the world united in the support of freedom, security and humanity.
The usually fractious Congress supports the 4-part plan outlined by the President. The President’s request for $500 million to fund the anti-terrorist plan was passed 273 -156 by the House of Representatives on September 18th and 78 to 22 by the Senate on September 19th. Of course, they can’t possibly agree on everything: there is disagreement about whether the President’s plan goes far enough, whether it relies on unreliable forces in Iraq and Syria, and whether the President could or should take action without Congressional approval. However, it can be safely said at this point that the 4-part plan itself does have widespread (but far from unanimous) bipartisan support.
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