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President Barack Obama said he is confident that the United States will succeed in defeating the Islamic State group, but acknowledged the country is not yet “over it.”
Speaking to reporters in Japan after a weekend trip to Saudi Arabia, Obama said the fight against the terrorist group has taken a toll on his presidency.
“It has, and I’m not saying that we’ve given up, but the United, like all of us, has had a toll of our own,” he said.
“We have had a lot of people who came in here and didn’t realize the extent of the threat.
We’re seeing more and more of them,” he added.
Obama has been critical of the way Saudi Arabia has handled the fight and said the kingdom has “gone overboard” in its response.
“This is not a military conflict.
This is a political dispute.
This was not an attack on our nation, but an attack against the values and aspirations of the Saudis,” he told reporters.”
I’m sure they will come to their senses and move forward,” he continued.”
They have not shown the courage to take on the Islamic state.
I know that in my heart of hearts, that is a good thing,” Obama said.
The White House also said Thursday that the U.S. military will continue to use its “full force” to counter the Islamic group, despite an increase in its bombing raids.
“In a way, it is the most effective way we can stop ISIL and we have been using our full force to do that,” said Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
The Trump administration has taken steps to ramp up air strikes against the group, including a recent increase in U.K. and British strikes.
The president is scheduled to arrive in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
The president will hold talks with King Salman and Saudi King Abdullah on Friday.