Obama says US underestimated the Islamic State threat
The president said that IS became stronger than anticipated after their tie-up with Saddam Husseinâ€™s old army in Iraq.
14:03 29 September 2014
President Barack Obama has admitted that US agencies have underestimated the Islamic State threat. In a frank interview, he said that IS became stronger than anticipated after their tie-up with Saddam Hussein’s old army in Iraq.
He said: "During the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you have huge swathes of the country completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos and attract foreign fighters... who believed in their jihadist nonsense.”
Asked whether the US had also underestimated the ability or will of Iraq’s US-trained military to fight the jihadists, the president said: “That’s true. That’s absolutely true.”
Last week, a US-led coalition of Arab and Western countries launched air strikes to help counter Islamic State striking targets in Iraq and Syria. Over the weekend, they have targeted four makeshift oil refineries under IS control in Syria and a command centre. US Central Command confirmed that the attacks were successful.
Since the departure of US troops, Iraq has been unstable while Syria has been engulfed in a civil war since 2011.