Obama to Try to Calm Terrorism Fears After California Shootings
U.S. President Barack Obama is making a rare primetime television address to the country late Sunday, hoping to calm Americans' fears about terrorist attacks and lay out the United States campaign against "the broader threat of terrorism."
He also plans to update the country on the investigation into last week's mass shooting in California, where U.S.-born Syed Rizwan Farook and his Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people and wounded another 21 in a hail of gunfire at a holiday gathering of local government workers in San Bernardino
The White House said Obama will discuss the nature of the terrorist threat, "how it has evolved, and how we will defeat it."
Obama "will reiterate his firm conviction" that Islamic State insurgents "will be destroyed and that the United States must draw upon our values, our unwavering commitment to justice, equality and freedom..."
Obama will speak from the Oval Office in the White House, where U.S. presidents have delivered some of their most significant speeches. Obama last gave a televised speech from the Oval Office to announce the end of U.S. ground combat operations in Iraq in 2010.
Assad: British Airstrikes in Syria Illegal
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has criticized Britain's entrance into the U.S.-led coalition attacking Islamic State militants in Syria, saying the airstrikes are illegal and will fail.
In an interview published in Britain's Sunday Times, Assad said Islamic State cannot be defeated by airstrikes alone, and that the only strikes that have been effective are those Russia has done since launching its Syrian campaign in September.
He has long criticized Western governments and others in his region who support moderate rebel fighters, and complained that the coalition airstrikes are a violation of his country's sovereignty. The U.S. and others in the West say Russia's airstrikes have largely focused on rebels and not Islamic State fighters.
Assad said in the interview there has been no moderate opposition during his country's conflict that began in March 2011, but rather only "extremists." The Syrian government has routinely referred to rebels as "terrorists" since the crisis expanded from peaceful protests to multi-party civil war.
Assad said if Western and regional support for terrorists ends, then it will take "a matter of months" to end the conflict.
Britain expanded its involvement in the U.S.-led coalition last week from conducting airstrikes solely against Islamic State targets in Iraq to bombing the militants in Syria as well after Prime Minister David Cameron lobbied his parliament for approval.