Obama seeks military options for Islamic State

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Obama tells press conference that he asked officials to come up with plans to denigrate the Islamic State, but rules out military action against Russia over the Ukraine.

By Roberta Rampton, Steve Holland, and Mark Felsenthal

REUTERS – President Barack Obama said on Thursday he has asked officials to prepare a range of U.S. military options for confronting Islamic State militants in Syria but said his strategy is still being developed.

At a news conference, Obama cautioned against speculation that he was on the brink of a decision to expand air strikes against Islamic State beyond targets already being hit in Iraq by U.S. aerial attacks.

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet. I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are.”

In the same press conference the president also commented on the crisis in the Ukraine saying that the United States and its allies would look for ways to expand economic sanctions on Russia after Kiev accused Moscow of moving troops into southeastern Ukraine, but stopped short of calling the recent Russian aggression an invasion.

Obama also ruled out military action against Russia. “I think it is very important to recognize that a military solution to this problem is not going to be forthcoming,” he said.

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