WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama expects his expanded military mission against the Islamic State militants to achieve at least three short-term objectives: reverse the extremist group's momentum in Iraq, squeeze their sanctuary in Syria and erode their recruiting appeal across the greater Mideast.

Progress toward his longer-term goal of destroying the extremist group will hinge on a set of more difficult moves, including effective U.S. coordination with Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces and undercutting financial and ideological support for the Islamic State group.

U.S. gains may come gradually, but analysts said broadening U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and extending them to Syria could undermine the Islamic State's popular image as a military steamroller by showing its momentum can be blunted.

(Story by: Robert Burns, The Associated Press)


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