Kerry: Allies must help ‘stamp out’ ISIS

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The United States and its allies must band together to defeat the militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Secretary of State John Kerry wrote in an op-ed published Friday. 

“No decent country can support the horrors perpetrated by ISIS, and no civilized country should shirk its responsibility to help stamp out this disease,” Kerry said in The New York Times column. “Coalition building is hard work, but it is the best way to tackle a common enemy.”

"With a united response led by the United States and the broadest possible coalition of nations, the cancer of ISIS will not be allowed to spread to other countries," he said. "The world can confront this scourge, and ultimately defeat it. ISIS is odious, but not omnipotent." 

The column comes two days after President Obama said, “we don’t have a strategy yet” on ISIS in Syria. Administration officials have since spent days scrambling to contain the fallout from the remark.

Military operations in Iraq are already costing $7.5 million per day, the Defense Department said Friday, for a total of about $560 million since airstrikes began on Aug. 8.

Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are due to meet with European allies on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Wales next week. The pair will then travel to the Middle East to drum up support in the region.

While the ongoing air campaign, along with assistance from Iraqi and Kurdish, have halted ISIS offensive operations, Kerry argues that a much broader response is required.

“Airstrikes alone won’t defeat this enemy,” Kerry wrote in the Times piece. “A much fuller response is demanded from the world. We need to support Iraqi forces and the moderate Syrian opposition, who are facing ISIS on the front lines. We need to disrupt and degrade ISIS’ capabilities and counter its extremist message in the media. And we need to strengthen our own defenses and cooperation in protecting our people.”

He predicted there would be a “role for almost every country” in the fight, some with providing direct and indirect military assistance, humanitarian aid or economic assurances. 

"Already our efforts have brought dozens of nations to this cause," Kerry said.

 

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