POLITICS

Why Obama Backed Off More ISIS Strikes

US President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, Aug
US President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, August 28, 2014. Obama said Thursday it was plain for the world to see that Russian forces were fighting in Ukraine. Obama said in a press briefing he planned to host Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at the White House in September to discuss the escalating crisis. AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

After a week of talk of eliminating the "cancer" of ISIS, President Obama said Thursday that he was not planning to significantly expand the war against the Islamic extremist movement anytime soon.

His remarks came after days of heated debate inside the top levels of his own national security bureaucracy about how, where, and whether to strike ISIS in Syria. But those deliberations – which included a bleak intelligence assessment of America's potential allies in Syria -- failed to produce a consensus battle plan. And so Obama, who has long been reluctant to enter into the Syrian conflict, told reporters Thursday that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for confronting ISIS on a regional level.

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