- The Washington Times - Monday, July 6, 2015

President Obama will give Americans an update Monday on the U.S. strategy for defeating the Islamic State, a month after he blamed the Defense Department for lacking a plan for the battle in Iraq and Syria.

Mr. Obama will visit the Pentagon Monday afternoon to receive a briefing by his national-security team on the 10-month-old military campaign against the terrorist organization. He’ll then give a statement to the media.

The huddle with military brass comes a month after Mr. Obama angered top Pentagon officials by saying at a press conference in Germany that “we don’t yet have a complete strategy” to train and equip Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State. Military officials who spoke anonymously said they have given the president several options, but he had yet to make a decision.

Last month, Mr. Obama said the Pentagon had yet to give him a “finalized” plan, saying, “It requires commitments on the part of the Iraqis as well about how recruitment takes place, how that training takes place.”

“The details of that are not yet worked out,” he said at the time.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has been asking the U.S.-led coalition for more military and intelligence support. Mr. Obama said the Pentagon is developing a plan to send more weapons and provide more training to Iraqi forces.

A wave of coalition airstrikes hit Islamic State targets in the group’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa over the weekend, killing at least 23 extremist fighters, according to independent aid groups.

After an Islamic State gunman murdered 30 British tourists at a resort in Tunisia last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly has authorized British special forces to launch raids in terrorist-held territory in Syria and Iraq.

The elite force of up to 100 troops is expected to work alongside U.S. special forces and Navy Seal teams.

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