President Obama Outlines Four-Step Plan to Defeat ISIL in Oval Office Address

On Sunday evening, President Obama conducted the third Oval Office address of his presidency to discuss the "broader threat of terrorism." He outlined a four-step plan to defeat the terrorist group known as ISIS, also referred to as ISIL and Islamic State. The address was in response to last Wednesday's alleged ISIS-related San Bernardino shooting that killed 14 people and injured 21. 


The U.S. has been at war with terrorism since 9/11, according to Obama. But the threat has evolved over the past few years; he cited Fort Hood and Chattanooga as examples. He stated his plan is "designed and supported by counterterrorism experts and military leaders." Success will come from "being strong and smart, resilient and relentless, and by drawing upon every aspect of American power," he said. 

The strategy, he reassured the nation, is and will be constantly examined and adjusted as needed so that America is not drawn into a "long and costly ground war" that includes dispatching more troops. He also said he wanted to dissociate ISIS from Islam, saying "ISIL does not speak for Islam."

In addition to his four-step plan, Obama recommended immediate steps for Congress to take in order to curb the threat of terrorism in the U.S. These steps include enforcing that those on the no-fly list can't buy guns or powerful assault weapons. Obama also said he wanted a stronger screening process for those coming to America.

Here are the four steps announced by Obama to defeat terrorism:

1. "Hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary."

The president referred back to the November Paris attacks, saying how France and other allies — like Germany and the U.K. — are joining in America's military campaign, which includes air strikes in Syria and Iraq.  

2. "Continue to provide training and equipment to tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL."

The president said he hoped to invest more in those working on the ground "to take away [ISIL's] safe havens." That offensive includes Special Operations Forces, he said. 

3. "We're working with friends and allies to stop ISIL's operations."

Obama said that the country has been working with other European countries in intelligence-sharing to stop plots, cut off finances and prevent them from recruiting. For Turkey, that means working to seal off its Syrian border. 

By working with Muslim-majority countries abroad and communities in America, Obama expects to battle the ISIS ideology. 

4. "With American leadership, the international community has begun to establish a process — and timeline — to pursue cease-fires and a political resolution to the Syrian war." 

This way, Syria and other countries like Russia can focus on the common goal of conquering ISIS, which Obama called a world threat. Obama said 65 other countries are teaming up in the American-led coalition. 


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Kathleen Wong

Kathleen is a branded content staff writer at Mic. She is based in New York and can be reached at kathleen@mic.com.

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