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Iran Press TV

Obama must intensify fight against Daesh: Robert Gates

Iran Press TV

Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:57PM

US President Barack Obama's strategy in fighting the Daesh (ISIL) terrorists in Iraq and Syria needs "to be sped up an intensified," former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates says.

"I think that while ISIS (Daesh) is a long-term problem for us, we have near-term issues associated with it," Gates, a former Defense secretary and CIA chief, told NBC on Sunday, using an alternative acronym for the terror group.

Gates, who served as the Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011,, ruled out putting boots on the ground as a viable option to fight the terrorist group, not at least as a "near-term solution."

"It would take months and months, even if you decided you wanted to do it, to put the logistics in place, get the troops trained, and so on. And then I'm not sure they don't aggravate the problem," he noted.

Nonetheless, the former top US official applauded Obama's decision to deploy 50 US Special Forces troops in Syria, calling for an increase. He also suggested that Washington needs to send more forward air controllers and spotters to the region.

The ex-CIA chief added that the US needs more military advisers in Iraq to work in coordination with tribal groups and Iraqi security forces.

Russia 'embarrassed' by Turkey

Gates, who was also an officer in the US Air Force and during the early part of his military career, said that Ankara's move in shooting down a Russian Sukhoi-24 bomber in Syria has "embarrassed" Moscow in the wake of its aerial campaign in Syria which was started late September.

He said that the incident has further strained the relationship between Russia and Turkey and this complicates coordination in the war on Daesh.

"I think that the biggest concern is, really, the overall relationship between Russia and Turkey, and what this says about the prospects for a broader coalition in the region. I think the Russians were embarrassed, frankly, by their plane getting shot down. It's been a long time since a Russian fire combat aircraft was shot down by hostile fire, and especially by a different country."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the act as a "stab in the back" by "accomplices of terrorists." The attack prompted Moscow to reconsider ties with Ankara in many fields including economy.

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