Islamic State responded in a video to US President Barack Obama’s vow to “ultimately destroy” it, promising to kill any American ground forces deployed. The extremist group has gained recruits since Obama’s declaration, according to observers in Syria.
The 52-second clip, released late Tuesday as a preview for a longer video, uses quick edits and high-resolution images to depict besieged American soldiers in the field, President George W. Bush’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner drop on an aircraft carrier mere weeks after the US invaded Iraq in 2003, and the White House at night.
Obama can be heard in the background proclaiming, “American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq.” The screen goes dark, and what appears to be a militant prepares to kill men on their knees. The words “Flames of War”appear, as does the phrase “Fighting has just begun.” The clip ends with the text, “Coming Soon.” The video has since been removed fromYouTube.
Though Obama promised last week in hisannouncement of an American-led offensive against Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) that American ground troops would not be deployed, the US military’s top official indicated that the option is still within consideration.
On Tuesday, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the US and whatever coalition it can rally behind it would not rule out asking Obama to send American ground troops to fight Islamic State, which controls territory in Syria and northern Iraq
U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters/Saul Loeb)
The “coalition is the appropriate way forward,”Dempsey said. “But if it fails to be true, and if there are threats to the United States, then I, of course, would go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of U.S. military ground forces.”
Obama is scheduled to issue a statement at noon Eastern time on the offensive against Islamic State.
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