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President Barack Obama on Wednesday laid out the key aspects of the United States’ plan for combating Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria. Here is what NBC News' correspondents took away from the address.
Chuck Todd, Moderator of “Meet The Press” and NBC News Political Director
“He made a pretty bold case for American interventionism in the end there, about why it is that America has to be the one to do these fights, to lead these charges around the world,” Todd said.
The role America plays in combating ISIS will likely last beyond his presidency, Todd added. A large reason for that is because of the “Pandora’s Box” Obama opened during Wednesday’s speech -- Syria.
“He had no choice because the ISIS threat was real, but opening this Pandora’s Box of Syria is going to be a great challenge for him and probably the next president,” Todd said.
Congress will also want to know how the U.S. ousts ISIS from Syria without aiding President Bashar Assad and who else will be included in the “broad coalition” the United States has formed.
“You’ll see Congress basically coalesce around this plan but there will be some questions,” Todd said.
Richard Engel, NBC News’ Chief Foreign Correspondent
The second half of the president’s strategy that involved working with regional actors to combat ISIS was “incredibly fuzzy,” NBC News’ Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel said.
“In Syria there aren’t any local partners, there are fictitious partners he is talking about. In Iraq...there is the Iraqi army which has disintegrated and is not an effective partner right now,” Engel said.
“ISIS is not an impossible target. The US military, or many of the militaries in the region could squash it, quickly,” Engel added. The problem is, ISIS is fueled and sits right on this sectarian fault line between Sunnis and Shiite, and if you get involved in that conflict...you are putting yourself as a mediator in this 1400 year old Sunni and Shiite fight, and the U.S. did that for ten years, and didn’t do it very successfully.”