No God condones this terror: Obama at UN

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Sep 24, 2014 22:13 IST

As US military continued to pound ISIS across Iraq and Syria, President Barack Obama on Wednesday called for more nations to come on board to not only deal with the immediate threat posed by the outfit but also to address the "cancer of violent extremism" and forces that contribute to its rise.

"No God condones this terror," Obama said, addressing the UN general assembly. "No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning - no negotiation - with this brand of evil.

"The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force," he added. And the US was doing exactly that - with an international coalition.

"Today," he added, "I ask the world to join in this effort."

He proceeded to a rollout a four-point plan:

- Degrade and destroy ISIS, which the US had already started with international partners - 40 nations, he said, had offered to join.

- The world, specially Muslim communities, must "explicitly and forcefully" reject the ideology of al Qaeda and ISIS. Cut their funding, counter their propaganda.

- End the cycle of conflict, specially in West Asia, that has given rise to such outfits. "Let's be clear," he said, "this is a war no one is winning."

- The countries of the Arab and Muslim worlds must give their people - especially their youth - affirmative "alternatives to terror" - better education, empowering women.

While laying out the challenges facing the world, Obama didn't hesitate to call out his own country. Referencing the Ferguson unrest, he said the US continued to face "racial and ethnic tensions".

He also called for worldwide efforts to tackle Ebola, climate change and other common issues. But the thrust of his speech, as expected, was ISIS, and the US-led wars against it.

"We will not succumb to threats; and we will demonstrate that the future belongs to those who build, not those who destroy," he said. "Those who have joined ISIS should leave the battlefield while they can."

US central command said on Wednesday five air strikes were conducted in Iraq and Syria over Tuesday and Wednesday against ISIS targets, using a mix of attack, bomber and fighter aircraft.

Two airstrikes targeted ISIS positions west of Baghdad and two outside Irbil in Iraq. A fifth strike took place near al Qa'im in Syria, destroying multiple assets.

With that, the number of airstrikes in Iraq went up to 198 since August 8, the start of the air campaign. And those in Syria went up to 20, the first few had targeted an al Qaeda affiliate.

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