Guest post by Kristinn Taylor
The White House might not be interested in war with ISIL, but ISIL is interested in waging war on the White House.
In a statement posted to the White House web site Monday, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said the Obama administration is not at war with ISIL (aka ISIS), the Islamist terrorist group that has conquered large swaths of Iraq and Syria while committing atrocities against men, women and children.
Rhodes made the statement in an ‘explainer’ on President Barack Obama’s decision to involve American air power in northern Iraq to deliver humanitarian aid and to conduct limited airstrikes against ISIL.
The explainer titled Airstrikes in Iraq: What You Need to Know lists nine questions and answers.
Rhodes acknowledges ISIL’s goal is to establish an Islamic state in the Middle East and in achieving that goal ISIL is committing genocide and enslaving women. Regardless, Rhodes insisted the Obama administration’s goals were limited to protecting U.S. personnel stationed in the Kurdish city of Erbil and preventing a genocide of the thousands of Yezidis trapped by ISIL on Mount Sinjar.
Rhodes said that unlike al Qaeda whose goal is attacking the United States, ISIL’s ambition is to form an Islamic state. Apparently Rhodes did not see The Gateway Pundit report on the ISIL propaganda photo purporting to show the flag of ISIL being flashed in front of the White House on a cellphone with the message, “we are here #America near our #target sooooooooooooon”.
At a Pentagon briefing today, an Army general said Obama’s limited airstrikes against ISIL would not harm the terrorist group much:
““We assess that U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq have slowed ISIL’s operational tempo and temporarily disrupted their advances toward the province of Arbil,” which includes the capital of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish region, said Army Lieutenant General William Mayville Jr., a senior Pentagon official.
““However, these strikes are unlikely to affect ISIL’s overall capabilities or its operations in other areas of Iraq and Syria,” Mayville told reporters at the Pentagon.”
Excerpts from the Rhodes’ White House explainer:
“7. Is ISIL more dangerous than al-Qaeda right now?
“While both are terrorist forces, they have different ambitions. Al-Qaeda’s principal ambition is to launch attacks against the west and U.S. homeland. That’s the direct threat that we have taken direct action against for many years. Right now, ISIL’s primary focus is consolidating territory in the Middle East region to establish their own Islamic State. So they’re different organizations with different objectives.
“8. Are we at war with ISIL? Will we be sending troops back to Iraq?
“No. There is no U.S. military solution to the larger situation in Iraq. The United States’ chief goals are to protect our personnel and facilities, and to prevent a potential act of genocide. That is the scope of these operations. As the President said, we will support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, but no American combat troops will be returning to fight in Iraq.”
Rhodes’ formal title is Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting.