News / USA

    Obama: Defeating Islamic State is 'Top Priority'

    US President Barack Obama (L) and Argentinian President Mauricio Macri deliver a joint press conference at the Casa Rosada presidential palace  in Buenos Aires on March 23, 2016.
    US President Barack Obama (L) and Argentinian President Mauricio Macri deliver a joint press conference at the Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires on March 23, 2016.

    President Barack Obama says destroying Islamic State is his "top priority," a day after the extremist group claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack that killed 31 people in Belgium.

    Speaking in Argentina, Obama also vowed to do "whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium in bringing to justice those who are responsible" for the attack.

    "This is yet another reminder that the world must unite, we must be together, regardless of nationality, or race, or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism," Obama said. "My top priority is to defeat ISIL and eliminate the scourge of this barbaric terrorism that has been taking place around the world."

    The group said it carried out Tuesday's bombings on the airport and Brussels metro in revenge for Belgium's role in the coalition fighting Islamic State.

     

     

    WATCH: President Obama's statement on Islamic State

     

     

    Obama Vows Top Priority is Defeating Islamic Statei
    X
    March 23, 2016 5:53 PM
    Speaking in Argentina, President Barack Obama says destroying Islamic State is his "top priority," a day after the extremist group claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack that killed 31 people in Belgium.


    Since 2014, the coalition has been carrying out a campaign of airstrikes and raids on extremist targets in Syria and Iraq, as well as other Middle East and North African countries.

    Republican presidential candidates say the Brussels bombings, the latest in a series of IS-claimed attacks, are the latest evidence the White House is not doing enough to wipe out the group.

    Frontrunner Donald Trump explicitly advocated the use of torture in order to stop such attacks. Texas Senator Ted Cruz reiterated his call to "carpet bomb" IS and said law enforcement should "patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods."

    The comments drew sharp criticism from a wide array of political leaders, as well as from American Muslims, who say they are being unfairly singled out for something they have nothing to do with.

    Obama on Wednesday slammed the comments as "un-American," and "counterproductive," and defended American Muslims as "extraordinarily successful, patriotic, (and) integrated."

    "Their children are our children’s friends, going to the same schools, they are our colleagues in our workplaces, they are our men and women in uniform, fighting for our freedom," Obama said.

    "And so any approach that would single them out or target them for discrimination is not only wrong and un-American but it would be counterproductive because it would reduce the strength, the antibodies that we have to resist terrorism," he added.

    Belgium's Queen Mathilde, second left, visits firefighters and first responders in front of the damaged Zaventem Airport terminal in Brussels on March 23, 2016.
    Belgium's Queen Mathilde, second left, visits firefighters and first responders in front of the damaged Zaventem Airport terminal in Brussels on March 23, 2016.

     

    Obama, who just completed a landmark visit to communist-led Cuba, said he has seen firsthand the devastating effects of overbearing government surveillance.

     

    "I just left a country that engages in that neighborhood surveillance, which by the way the father of Senator Cruz escaped for America, the land of the free, the notion that we would start down that slippery slope makes absolutely no sense. It is contrary to who we are and it is not going to help us defeat ISIL," he said.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 23, 2016 11:37 PM
    [Doesn't anybody listen?] .. If the US is really serious and wants to defeat and destroy the Sunni Muslim ISIL Caliphate army, then they need only to kill the Sunni Muslim Caliph al-Baghdadi, (like Hulagu Khan did), when he ended the last reign of the last Sunni Muslim Caliph of Baghdad and his Caliphate? .. If they kill the Caliph of the ISIL, then the ISIL Caliphate dies too? .. There is no other one to take the place of the Caliph al-Baghdadi? .. It's the ISIL Caliphate that the terrorists around the world are rallying around? .. when he dies, his Caliphate dies with him?

    by: AHMED from: INDIA
    March 23, 2016 9:40 PM
    USA must learn from Past Mistakes, and take action against Sponsors of IS. But i do not think USA will take any action against Sponsors. If USA wants peace in Middle East then sponsors of Human Killers must be punish other wise Al Qaida will come with new name but same Sponsors.

    by: williweb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
    March 23, 2016 6:15 PM
    We don't want to prosecute them. We want to kill them.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora