Declaring that the beheading of an American journalist was a terrorist attack on the United States, the Obama administration said Friday that it was weighing how to confront Islamic State militants in Syria, in what would be a major escalation of U.S. efforts to defeat the extremists.
President Obama, who sought to build a legacy as a leader who ends wars rather than starts them, until now had resisted direct U.S. intervention in the more than 3-year-old Syrian civil war.
But he has reconsidered his position as Islamic State forces have grown stronger and issued threats against Americans, most recently in a video this week showing the killing of American journalist James Foley at the hands of a masked executioner who spoke with a British accent. That has heightened concern that hundreds of militants have passports that could allow them to easily travel to the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.
Infuriated by Foley’s grisly death, Obama is considering all options that might protect Americans from a threat that could reach the United States and other Western nations, a top advisor said, insisting that the president wouldn’t be “restricted by borders.”
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