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Former CIA Director: Obama’s Anti-IS Strategy Over-Dependent On Air Power

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US President Barack Obama's strategy for defeating Islamic State (IS) militants by extending airstrikes from Iraq to Syria is over-reliant on air power, former CIA director Michael Hayden told reporters in a conference call organized by the Atlantic Council on Thursday.

NEW YORK, September 11 (RIA Novosti) – US President Barack Obama's strategy for defeating Islamic State (IS) militants by extending airstrikes from Iraq to Syria is over-reliant on air power, former CIA director Michael Hayden told reporters in a conference call organized by the Atlantic Council on Thursday.

"The air campaign and ground forces represent the most serious challenge. The president was very robust about what he's willing to do from the air. I believe in air power. I think we can do an awful lot from the air and we should have been doing more to date," said Hayden, a former airman who also was director of the National Security Agency.

"But reliance on air power is all the attraction of casual sex. It seems to offer gratification, but with very little commitment. We need to be wary of a strategy that puts such an emphasis on air power alone. The Ground force component is the most problematic. It's tough to find good and competent friends in the neighborhood," Hayden added.

On Wednesday, US President Barack Obama announced plans to defeat the Islamic State (IS) military group, which is also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL, by extending US airstrikes from Iraq to Syria and bolstering Kurdish and Iraqi forces army and Syria's moderate opposition.

Estimates of IS fighters vary from 10,000 to 50,000. The group currently controls vast territories, exercising influence across a population as large as 8 million, mostly Sunni Muslims, who complain they have been marginalized by Damascus and Baghdad.

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