White House Unsure If US Airstrikes Will Save Strategic Kurdish City

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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The White House rhetorically distanced itself from efforts to save the strategic Kurdish city of Kobani and its tens of thousands of people.

The city is about to captured by the tanks and artillery of ISIS, but President Barack Obama approved only a dozen airstrikes to stop the takeover.

“You have seen the U.S. military carry out airstrikes in this region that have degraded the ability of ISIL to carry out this function,” he said, “Now, is this going to stop ISIL from overrunning Kobani? I don’t think anyone knows.”

The pending defeat of the Kurds in Kobani isn’t important to the president’s overall anti-jihad strategy, White House spokesman Josh Earnest suggested Wednesday.

“Our overall goal is related to ensuring that ISIL and other extreme groups cannot use the power vacuum that exists in Syria as a safe haven to plot attacks against the United States,” he said.

Earnest did not promise aid, or extra air attacks to save the city.

The loss comes three years after Obama withdrew all U.S. forces from neighboring Iraq. The withdrawal allowed the jihadi army to gain military and political strength in Syria and Iraq.

In September, Obama launched a series of high-profile air attacks against buildings in the ISIS base.

If the jihadis capture Kobani city, in the face of U.S. opposition, they’ll describe it as a victory over the United States.

That likely will increase their status, and boost the number of jihadi recruits.

The victory would also eliminate the Kurdish enclave, which had been resisting the jihadis’ advance for two years. That’s valuable to the jihadis, because it will remove a military threat to their territory.

Earnest downplayed the jihadis’ imminent victory over Obama’s new strategy, even as his criticized the jihadis’ brutal strategies.

“We remain deeply concerned about what’s happening in Kobani,” Earnest said.

The brutality of this terrorist organization “is appalling and it is something we continue to be concerned about,” Earnest said, before admitting that Obama is not going to save the city.

The U.S. has conducted “almost a dozen airstrikes” in the last 36 hours, Earnest said. The strikes, however, did include at least one raid by a B-1B bomber, which can carry more than 30 guided bombs.

Alexander Griswold contributed to this report.

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