Islamic State IS Taunts Obama As Observers Deem Anti-Terror Policy Muddling

The Islamic State (IS) taunted U.S. President Barack Obama in an audio recording allegedly released by the terrorists, just as the U.S. ramps up efforts to destroy the militant group.

The IS has overtaken a vast swath of territory in northern Iraq in a bid to carve out an Islamist state, from which the Obama administration frets the militants could launch a strike against the U.S. homeland, much like al-Qaida used Afghanistan as a staging ground for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against New York and Washington.

In response, the U.S. has launched about 170 air bombardments against IS positions, and U.S. Congress last week backed Obama's plan to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels to fight the IS militants.

The U.S. and partner nations have also begun striking the IS targets in Syria, using a mix of fighters, bombers and Tomahawk missiles, the Pentagon said Monday night.

The audio recording warned Americans that "you will not feel secure even in your bedrooms," as reported Monday by NBC News, which could not immediately verify the recording's authenticity.

More fundamentally, critics fret that Obama believes simply not antagonizing groups like the IS will keep the U.S. safe. But terrorists perceive this as weakness, and experts say the IS may eventually want to prove its viability by launching a major attack against the world's superpower.

Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua that a number of Americans believe that Obama's plan is a half-hearted effort to defeat the terrorists, as the president is reluctant to re-engage Iraq after staking his legacy on being the leader that ended U.S. involvement in the war-torn country.

"It has to do with his base a little bit, but it also has to do with his philosophy with Iraq," he said.

Read more from Mathew Rusling at Xinhua

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Analysis & Political Strategy