Obama: Paris Attack A 'Setback' In Fight Against Islamic State

November 16, 2015

President Obama insisted Monday morning his strategy to combat the Islamic State will eventually work in destroying the terrorist caliphate, referring to the terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 129 people as a "setback."

"We have always understood that this would a long-term campaign. There will be setbacks and there will be successes," Obama said. "The terrible events in Paris were obviously a terrible and sickening setback."

The president was forced to defend his strategy to international media outlets at the G-20 summit in Turkey. Just days after Paris witnessed the horror of Islamic State-coordinated attacks throughout the city, Obama held firm that his plan to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist organization would eventually bear fruit.

"Even as we grieve with our French friends, however, we can’t lose sight that there has been progress being made," Obama added.

On Friday, a few hours before the Paris attacks, Obama stated that he had "contained" ISIS by pointing to the likely death of Jihadi John in a drone strike and Kurdish forces retaking the city of Sinjar.

In apparent rebukes of Obama’s rhetoric, both Hillary Clinton and French President Francois Hollande said containing ISIS is not enough.

"We have to look at ISIS as a leading threat of an international terror network—it cannot be contained; it must be defeated," Clinton said during the Democratic debate Saturday night.

"We need to destroy ISIS, not just contain it," Hollande said at the very same time Obama spoke in front of reporters.

France launched a series of airstrikes on the ISIS compound in Raqqa.

"Here at the G-20, our nations have sent an unmistakable message, that we are united against this threat," Obama said. "ISIL is the face of evil."