Just a few hours after the Obama administration raised possibilities of sending ground troops in Iraq to combat extremists Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the militant group released a threatening video, saying the war “has just begun”.
The 53-second video, which looks like an action movie trailer, shows ISIS fighters operating and blowing up tanks, injured American soldiers and others about to get killed, says the Associated Press.
It then showed a speech of Barack Obama stating troops will not be deployed in Iraq, ending with the text the “fighting has just begun”.
The video was released on Tuesday, shortly after military Chief Gen. Martin Dempsey discussed the possibility of deploying troops with the Senate Armed Services Committee if the current strategy of attacking the militants from the air fails.
“To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president,” Dempsey told the Senate panel.
The Joint Military Chief of Staffs chairman acknowledged that this position would contradict the Obama’s policy, but he said the president “has told me as well to come back to him on a case-by-case basis,” The New York Times reported.
Obama rose to popularity during the 2008 presidential elections for his advocacy of ending the wars engaged into by the U.S., particularly the Iraq war. When he won the presidency, he ordered the withdrawal of American troops in Iraq.
He has maintained his “no ground troops” position ever since, especially in the recent months since the ISIS fortified its strength in the borders of Iraq and Syria.
Dempsey’s remarks exposes the complications that Obama might face at the height of the campaign against ISIS. The military chief said that the “hands off approach” is untenable in long-term military campaigns, especially if the battle against the Islamists would reach densely populated cities.
The White House, however, defended Dempsey and said it is just expected for the president’s military advisers “to plan and consider all the wide range of contingencies.”
“It’s also the commander in chief’s responsibility to set out a clear policy,” said White House Secretary Josh Earnest.