Brett Logiurato ---- Business Insider
President Barack Obama on Friday said unequivocally that the extremist group calling itself the Islamic State must be dismantled, degraded, and "ultimately defeated," days after he earned criticism for saying the goal was to roll back the organization to a point it was "manageable."
"We are going to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL, in the same way we went after Al Qaeda," Obama said Friday, later adding that "you can’t contain an organization [like ISIS]. The goal has to be to dismantle them."
Obama held a news conference Friday at the conclusion of the NATO Summit in Wales, touching on the crises in both Ukraine and Iraq. Obama echoed the words of Secretary of State John Kerry, who said Friday that the U.S. was committed to "destroying" the extremist group within three years as he announced a plan for an international coalition to confront the group in the Middle East.
It was a marked change from earlier this week, when Obama faced criticism after he expressed contradictory statements on his strategy toward confronting ISIS. He said Wednesday that the aim of a potential international coalition to combat ISIS was to reach "the point where it is a manageable problem."
Obama said there was "unanimous" consent among NATO members at the summit that ISIS posed a threat to them and that "action" would need to be taken.
"We have a critical role to play in rolling back this savage organization. We have to act," Obama said.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's government and pro-Russian separatists battling government forces in the country's eastern regions announced the terms of a cease-fire agreement on Friday. Obama said the cease-fire provided "hope," but he said he was skeptical the separatists would follow through and that Russia would "stop violating Ukraine's territorial sovereignty" and pull out its troops. NATO officials have said more than 1,000 Russian troops are currently in Ukraine fighting with pro-Russian separatists.