Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 11th 2014 Contents 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 defences and coop-
eration in protecting our people.
In this battle, there is a role for almost every country.
Some will provide military assistance, direct and indi-
rect. Some will provide desperately needed human-
itarian assistance for the millions who have been dis-
placed and victimised across the region.
Others will help restore not just shattered economies
but broken trust among neighbours. This effort is
underway in Iraq, where other countries have joined
us in providing humanitarian aid, military assistance
and support for an inclusive government.
Already our efforts have brought dozens of nations
to this cause. Certainly there are different interests at
play. But no decent country can support the horrors
perpetrated by Isis, and no civilised country should
shirk its responsibility to help stamp out this disease.
Isis abhorrent tactics are uniting and rallying neigh-
bours with traditionally conflicting interests to support
Iraq s new government. And over time, this coalition
can begin to address the underlying factors that fuel
Isis and other terrorist organisations with like-minded
Coalition building is hard work but it is the best
way to tackle a common enemy. When Saddam Hus-
sein invaded Kuwait in 1990, the first President George
Bush and Secretary of State James A. Baker III did
not act alone or in haste. They methodically assembled
a coalition of countries whose concerted action brought
a quick victory.
Extremists are defeated only when responsible
nations and their peoples unite to oppose them.
The following is an article by US
Secretary of State John Kerry on the
ongoing threat caused by Isis which
appeared in the New York Times last
month, reproduced today as the US
marks the 13th anniversary of the Sep-
tember 11 attacks on the World Trade
In a polarised region and a compli-
cated world, the Islamic State in Iraq
and Syria presents a unifying threat to
a broad array of countries, including the
United States. What s needed to confront
its nihilistic vision and genocidal agenda
is a global coalition using political,
humanitarian, economic, law enforce-
ment and intelligence tools to support
In addition to its beheadings, cruci-
fixions and other acts of sheer evil,
which have killed thousands of innocents
in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, including
Sunni Muslims whose faith it purports
to represent, Isis (which the United States
government calls Isil, or the Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant) poses a
threat well beyond the region.
Isis has its origins in what was once
known as Al Qaeda in Iraq, which has
over a decade of experience in extremist
The group has amassed a hardened
fighting force of committed jihadists
with global ambitions, exploiting the
conflict in Syria and sectarian tensions
Its leaders have repeatedly threatened
the United States and in May an Isis-
associated terrorist shot and killed three
people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.
(A fourth victim died 13 days later.
Isis cadre of foreign fighters are a
rising threat not just in the region but
anywhere they could manage to travel
undetected, including to America.
There is evidence that these extrem-
ists, if left unchecked, will not be satisfied
at stopping with Syria and Iraq.
They are larger and better funded in
this new incarnation, using pirated oil,
kidnapping and extortion to finance
operations in Syria and Iraq.
They are equipped with sophisticated
heavy weapons looted from the battle-
field. They have already demonstrated
the ability to seize and hold more ter-
ritory than any other terrorist organi-
sation, in a strategic region that borders
Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey and is per-
ilously close to Israel.
Isis fighters have exhibited repulsive
savagery and cruelty. Even as they butch-
er Shiite Muslims and Christians in their
effort to touch off a broader ethnic and
sectarian conflict, they pursue a calcu-
lated strategy of killing fellow Sunni
Muslims to gain and hold territory.
The beheading of an American jour-
nalist James Foley has shocked the con-
science of the world.
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
The world can confront this scourge
and ultimately defeat it. Isis is odious
but not omnipotent.
We have proof already in northern
Iraq, where United States airstrikes have
shifted the momentum of the fight, pro-
viding space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces
to go on the offensive.
With our support, Iraq s leaders have
come together to form a new, inclusive
government that is essential to isolating
Isis and securing the support of all of
Iraq s communities.
Airstrikes alone won t defeat this
enemy. A much fuller response is
demanded from the world. We need to
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