In a televised address, President Obama made two things clear about the group that calls itself the “Islamic State”:
- “ISIL is not ‘Islamic’. No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.”
- “ISIL is certainly not a state. … It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates.”
ISIL is “a terrorist organization, pure and simple,” and the United States will lead an effort to end ISIL’s campaign of terror in the Middle East, the president said September 10. “This is not our fight alone,” he continued, noting the effort will unite the United States with a broad coalition of international partners.
How far will they go?
“In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality,” Obama said. “They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide.”
“We stand with people who fight for their own freedom, and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity.”
In cooperation with its partners, the president said, the United States will undertake a “steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL.” An additional 475 U.S. personnel will provide Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment, and the United States will work with other countries to cut off funding to ISIL, share intelligence on the terror group and prevent more foreign fighters from joining them.
The U.S. will also increase U.S. humanitarian assistance to those in Iraq and Syria who are threatened by the group, including Sunni and Shia Muslims and tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities. “We cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands,” Obama said.
“We stand with people who fight for their own freedom, and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity,” he said. The full transcript of the president’s remarks can be found on the White House website.
Recently, Secretary of State John Kerry also called for a global coalition to defeat the threat of ISIL in an essay in the New York Times.