Today during a briefing on the crisis in the Middle East, the President of the United States delivered remarks on his strategy to defeat ISIL after receiving a briefing from his military brass. He stated: “…the fall of Ramadi has galvanized the Iraqi government. So with the additional steps I ordered last month we’re speeding up [the] training of ISIL forces, including volunteers from Sunni tribes in Anbar Province. More Sunni volunteers are coming forward…” Defense Secretary Ash Carter, General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff and other notable commanders accompanied the President on the stage.
This statement came during a televised speech where the President was speaking about U.S. strategic policies in the Middle East region. It was read off of a written statement which was given to him after his meeting with the National Security team members* at the Pentagon. While most Americans understood that the President had referred to forces fighting against ISIL based on the context both prior to and after this statement, misunderstandings will abound in the Middle East where people are dying on a daily basis and most of the countries are in chaos. Those preparing these statements should have reviewed the President’s speech prior to it being delivered.
ISIL has a very sophisticated Information Operation campaign. This statement by the President which appears at 5:08 minutes into his speech does not bode well for our strategic influence within the region.
NEC-SE has stated on multiple occasions that our readers should spend 75% of their time reading and listening and 25% of the time writing in order to understand the link analysis that we provide in our open source reporting. It is unfortunate that today’s comment was not picked up on by any of the major media in the United States or abroad, given the fact that U.S. leadership is vital within the Middle East region.
* Security Team Members
The national security team met in Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s conference room. Meeting with Obama and Carter were: Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work; Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Navy Adm. James Winnefeld, the vice chairman; Marcel Lettre, the acting undersecretary of defense for intelligence; Gen. Ray Odierno, Army chief of staff; Gen. Joseph Dunford, Commandant of the Marine Corps; Army Gen. Frank Grass, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the commander of U.S. Central Command; Army Gen. David Rodriguez, the commander of U.S. Africa Command; Army Gen. Joe Votel, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command; Adm. Michelle Howard, the vice Chief of naval operations; Gen. Larry Spencer, the Air Force vice chief of staff.
Also included were U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, CIA Director John Brennan, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism.
The Department of Defense has published photo essay on the meeting