News / Middle East

US Defense Secretary Says Islamic State is Imminent Threat

US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic Statei
X
August 22, 2014 4:04 AM
U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Watch related video from VOA's Zlatica Hoke.
Meredith Buel

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is warning that the Islamic State is more than a typical terrorist group and is an imminent threat to the United States. Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Secretary Hagel said U.S. airstrikes have helped stall the momentum of Islamic State militants in Iraq, and have enabled Iraqi and Kurdish forces to regain their footing.

However, he expects the insurgents to regroup and stage a new offensive.

“They are beyond just a terrorist group.  They marry ideology and a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess.  They are tremendously well-funded.  Oh this is beyond anything that we have seen,” said Hagel.

Hagel described Islamic State fighters as barbaric, saying they present a serious threat to the United States and other countries.

“They have no standard of decency, of responsible human behavior, and I think the record is pretty clear on that.  So yes, they are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it is in Iraq or anywhere else,” continued Hagel.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Islamic State could pose a threat to Western countries through the return home of U.S. or European nationals who have fought for the militant group in Syria or Iraq.

“[ISIL] will only truly be defeated when it is rejected by the 20 million disenfranchised Sunnis that happen to reside between Damascus and Baghdad,” said Dempsey.

Their comments came days after Islamic State militants released a video showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley. Foley was a reporter for GlobalPost when he was captured in Syria in 2012.

His news outlet says the kidnappers demanded $132 million in exchange for his release.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf says it has long been American policy not to pay ransom in instances where U.S. citizens are being held captive in combat zones.

“The United States government believes very strongly that paying ransom to terrorists gives them a tool in the form of financing that helps them propagate what they are doing.  So we believe very strongly that we don’t do that,” said Harf.

U.S. commandos did attempt to rescue Foley and other Americans in Syria. However, the mission failed because the hostages were not at the location where they were believed to have been held.

Limited campaign

So far, President Barack Obama has sought to limit his renewed military campaign in Iraq to protecting American diplomats and civilians under direct threat. Obama ended the war in Iraq that killed thousands of American soldiers and consumed U.S. foreign policy for nearly a decade.

Even after the gruesome killing of Foley, Obama is seen as unlikely to deepen his near-term military involvement in either Iraq or Syria as he seeks to avoid becoming embroiled in another messy Middle Eastern conflict.

But U.S. officials say they have not ruled out escalating military action against Islamic State, which has increased its overt threats against the United States since the air campaign in Iraq began.

“We haven't made a decision to take additional actions at this time, but we truly don't rule out additional action against ISIL if it becomes warranted,” Ben Rhodes, a senior Obama aide, told National Public Radio earlier on Thursday.

Material from Reuters was used in this report.

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: mm from: mm
August 23, 2014 2:04 AM
James Foley is a braveman and is my hero.he will be remember

by: Not Again from: Canada
August 22, 2014 9:26 PM
Secretary Hagel, as usual, got the perspective on ISIS totally correct. What is the most dastardly aspect, is the fact that much of the backbone of ISIS is composed of people that did not live, were not born, nor did originate in the areas in which they are terrorizing civilians; this is a very un-usual situation, coupled with the fact that they have stolen vast resources, including heavy military equipment, the local Iraqi forces are no match for them.
Given that their campaign enslaves people, especially women and children, forces them to convert, and the fact that they use sucide bombers, including Europeans, makes IS an extremely dangerous group. They are well on their way in acquiring all the controls necessary to form a very extreme state.
The dastardly and heinious murder of the US journalist is a clear measure of their absolute depravity and total lack of humanity. The longer they are allowed to propagate their aggression, the more difficult it will be to put them out of business. If they succceed in Iraq, they will destoy Lebanon and even Jordan in no time. No good will come out of any of it.

by: meanbill from: USA
August 21, 2014 11:59 PM
The US and NATO have gone completely lost their minds and gone insane.... (on one hand), they arm and train the tens of thousands of (foreign) Sunni Muslim ultra-extremists from all over the world in Jordan and Turkey, to wage war on the Shia Muslim government of Syria, (and they have no loyalty or allegiance to anybody).... and being Sunni Muslim ultra-extremists, armed and trained by the US and NATO to fight Shia Muslims, (they ended up joining), the (ISIL) Sunni Muslim ultra-extremist army of al-Baghdadi, "The Emir of the Believers" who then declared the "Caliphate of all Islam"..... with an (ISIL) Sunni Muslim army armed and trained by the US and NATO, to kill Shia Muslims, (and now), every person of any other religion, or ENSLAVE them....

The US and NATO created (by ignorance), the Sunni Muslim ultra-extremist army in Jordan and Turkey, (and then), al-Baghdadi came from "Al-Qaeda of Iraq" into Syria and recruited this US and NATO armed and trained Sunni Muslim ultra-extremist army into his (ISIL) Sunni Muslim ultra-extremist army, (and then), went back to Iraq with his (ISIL) army, and joined with "Al-Qaeda of Iraq" ad the Sunni Muslim tribes in the "Sunni Triangle" and the Sunni Muslims in "The Triangle of Death" in Iraq, and the Sunni Muslims in the Iraq army.... to fight against the Shia Muslims, and the Iraqi government..... thanks to the US and NATO insanity, to cause regime change?...... (Who's responsible for Foley's death?)

by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
August 21, 2014 10:12 PM
If we want durable peace in this world and specially in Middle East, then we have to stop to sponsor terrorist group in the name of freedom fighters. There should be justice in Middle East, only then there will be durable peace other wise this type of human tragedy will remain in Middle East. How many poor and helpless lives we have lost in Middle East in the LAST 65 YEARS. Any body can make simple arithmetic. Current conflict started from Syria, when world Big Power with proud of their wealth gave training and weapons in terrorist group in Syria to Finish Asad Govt. How many peoples become homeless, children without parent, handicap children, man and woman. Because USA, EU, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Kuwait and Jordon were giving money, weapons, medical treatment and training for these terrorist group. We have learn from our past mistakes and do not support terrorism in the name of freedom fighters. What is going on in Libya because of Big Power game. Every body knows who is behind against Gaddafi & Co in Libya. Now no body is helping Poor Libyans from terrorist group.

by: j from: usa
August 21, 2014 8:59 PM
What I dont get - how can they convert oil refinery/well gains into cash? Just getting shipments of arms is trivial --- but converting oil to cash - who else is involved?
In Response

by: Miranda from: Sweden
August 22, 2014 4:26 AM
The whole civilised world should morally and by all other available means stand behind USA i this battle between civilisation/humanity and barbarism.

by: Mark from: Virginia
August 21, 2014 8:51 PM
U.S. ground forces will be back in there, eventually. It is becoming inevitable. All this talk in Washington is ground breaking for a return to boots on the ground in Iraq, and eventually, in Syria.
Watch and see, it will happen. Obama is not going to be the one to authorize it, but he will lay the groundwork for the next President (whoever that will be) to HAVE to take such steps.

"Once more, unto the breach" -Winston Churchill, 1940, quoting Shakespeare.

by: Rock Wood from: Denver
August 21, 2014 7:52 PM
We need to finish what we started its that simple.
In Response

by: Moses
August 22, 2014 10:36 AM
Yes you are right, however much preparation is required to ensure success, including a coalition of nations to deal with this barbaric terrorist group, whose numbers will swell as it advances and overthrows governments. Ultimately it shall become a GLOBAL threat if not dealt with and it could easily incorporate Hamas in Gaza.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs