US President Barack Obama offers no clear strategy for destroying ISIS other than predicting a long, hard road for his too-little, too-late military interventions overseas. That was evident from his latest speech Tuesday, June 14. Realizing this, Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi still does not feel threatened by military defeat, and whenever his forces are pushed back on one front, he promptly opens a new one. And so, when earlier this year, US and Russian-backed local forces aided by air strikes began forcing ISIS out of territory it had occupied since 2014 in Syria and Iraq. ISIS shifted a large part of its forces to Libya and opened a third front there.The 5,000 Islamist fighters were quietly moved from Iraq to southern Jordan, from there to the Sinai Peninsula and from Egypt to Libya. How come that neither the Americans nor anyone else in the West acted to thwart this large-scale military movement?In Libya, the Islamists partly made up for the shortfall in revenue caused by the financial and military measures which President Obama described at length Tuesday when he outlined his war in ISIS. After the US bombed the Syrian oil wells and refineries captured by ISIS, Al-Baghdadi found new sources of income by seizing Libyan oil facilities, smuggling migrants out of Africa and flogging arms on Middle East black markets.Only after ISIS had got itself well organized in Libya, some 200km from Europe, did the Americans and Europeans step in to launch a limited military strike.ISIS also boosted another important front by launching and sponsoring terrorist assaults in American and European cities.President Obama described the war on the terror organization from a one-sided perspective, as though only his side was making progress on the battlefield. However, DEBKAfile military and counter terrorism sources say this account is skewed. Like any other tough war still in progress, both contestants have good days of achievements and bad days of failures.The Orlando terror attack on June 12, when 49 Americans were murdered by a young Muslim man who swore allegiance to al-Baghdadi was one of the bad days, on which America suffered an agonizing blow.In his speech, Obama bent all his rhetoric skill and intelligence to drawing a thick line between 29-year-old Omar Mateen and “one of the world’s great religions” by dismissing him as a “disturbed individual” notwithstanding the mass-murderer’s oath of allegiance to the ISIS leader.
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