News / Middle East

    Kerry: It Will Take Years to Defeat Islamic State

    60 Nations Pledge to Fight Islamic Statei
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    Al Pessin
    December 03, 2014 7:22 PM
    At a meeting in Brussels Wednesday, senior officials from more than 60 countries pledged to continue their fight against the militant Islamic State group for, in the words of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, “as long as it takes.” VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
    Watch related video by VOA's Al Pessin
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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says it will take years to defeat the Islamic State militants, but that coalition airstrikes against the insurgents have made it "much harder" for them to launch new attacks.

    Kerry spoke Wednesday in Brussels, opening a meeting with foreign ministers from 60 coalition partners to discuss efforts to combat the militant group that took over large areas of northern and western Iraq and eastern Syria earlier this year.

    "One outcome of this meeting will be a statement that encompasses our message: that we are united and moving ahead on all fronts and that we will engage in this campaign for as long as it takes to prevail," Kerry said.

    He said the militants must worry about what will come down on them from the sky, and that the U.S.-led airstrikes will continue as necessary while training and assistance for Iraq's security forces expand.

    So far, the coalition has carried out more than 1,000 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since the campaign began in August.

    Syria denies strikes' usefulness

    However, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said U.S.-led strikes in Syria have made no difference and described himself as a captain trying to save his ship, in comments to French magazine Paris Match and carried by the presidency's Twitter feed on Wednesday.

    Asked whether airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria have been helpful to him, Assad, whose forces have fought the same groups, told Paris Match: “You can't end terrorism with aerial strikes.

    “Troops on the ground that know the land and can react are essential. That is why there haven't been any tangible results in the two months of strikes led by the coalition,” he said, according to interview extracts on Paris Match's website in English.

    “It isn't true that the strikes are helpful. They would of course have helped had they been serious and efficient. We are running the ground battles against Daesh [Arab acronym for the Islamic State group], and we have noticed no change, especially with Turkey providing direct support to these regions," Assad was quoted as saying.

    Turkey denies Syrian accusations that it backs Islamist insurgents like Islamic State fighters in Syria.

    Iranian airstrikes

    Iran, meanwhile, would not confirm U.S. assertions that it carried out airstrikes on Islamic State militants inside Iraq, close to its border.

    U.S. military officials said American-built jets that Iran bought in the 1970s hit Islamic State targets in eastern Diyala province. The Pentagon said the U.S. does not operate in that area.

    No other information on the airstrikes was available. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he was unaware of any air action in Diyala.

    Both Iran and the United States hastened to say there is no military cooperation between them.

    White House spokesman John Earnest said "the wisdom of cooperating" militarily with Iran has not changed, and that it will not happen. A top Iranian official said working with the Americans is "out of the question."

    Also Wednesday, a top U.S. general said the Islamic State has set up training camps in eastern Libya.

    General David Rodriguez said the Pentagon was ruling out any military strike on those camps at this time, calling the activities there small and nascent. He said the Pentagon suspected those inside the camps were local militias trying to make connections and that officials would monitor the situation.

    Woman linked to IS detained

    Meanwhile, Iraq's interior ministry said Wednesday that a woman detained in Lebanon is not the wife of Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

    Lebanese officials said Tuesday that Lebanon's military had detained a wife and child of Baghdadi near the border with Syria, and that they were being questioned at the defense ministry.

    But Iraqi interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan said the woman is actually the sister of another man, Omar Abdul Hamid al-Dulaimi, a terror suspect being held in Iraq.

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    by: Josefine
    December 05, 2014 8:10 AM
    It's not just Bashar al-Assad who thinks US-led airstrikes might be ineffective in destroying the Islamic State.

    For War and Peace Talk, Professor Bernard Haykel (Princeton University, Dept of Near Eastern Studies) argues that for the jihadist Sunni movements Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, the airstrikes will corroborate their narrative of a conspiracy between the West, Jews and Shia Muslims. “Every time the West has intervened in the Middle East for the last 200 years it has led to a much worse situation, both for the people of the region and for the West,” argues Haykel.


    by: Mkhattib from: USA
    December 04, 2014 5:48 PM
    Iran is the main beneficiary of the Islamic State’s rampage
    As a state-sponsor of terrorism and fundamentalism, and one of the regimes with the worst human rights records across the globe, Iran has been able to benefit immensely from the havoc that the Islamic State has wreaked across Iraq and Syria.
    In Iraq, the Iranian regime has used the rise of the Islamic State as an excuse to surge thousands of troops through the porous Iran-Iraq border and notch up the violent activities of its many proxy militia groups in the country. But rather than fighting the Islamic State, Iran’s real agenda is to expand and strengthen its hold on Iraqi soil and politics.

    by: SGM Bob from: USA
    December 04, 2014 12:12 AM
    Sure, if the approach continues with the pussy-foot approach that medal-tosser Kerry and his boss, Bozo the Clown, take. Kerry, you would do best to just shut up and go back to North Vietnam! And take Hanoi Jane with you.

    by: Rockdad from: Michigan
    December 03, 2014 11:27 PM
    Lurch Kerry has spoken " ooooooooooohhhhhhh"

    by: Alvinjh from: LasVegas
    December 03, 2014 11:23 PM
    One thing for sure..it will NEVER happen while YOU'RE secretary of state or Obama is President... two years to go and we'll remedy THAT.

    by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
    December 03, 2014 11:00 PM
    It will take many more years to train the Iraqi and Afghan militaries, the Free Syrian Army, the Peshmerga and the Kurds!

    by: Tim Frenchko from: Hanceville, Al.
    December 03, 2014 10:50 PM
    What about the war?

    by: AHMED from: INDIA
    December 03, 2014 10:06 PM
    We are wasting so much time and money to build a TERRORIST GROUP and then spend money and time to dismantle as per their our sweet wish.
    I cannot understand what happen to leaders of super powers. First they will create problems and then spend time and money to solve it.
    Who created ISIL, who funded it and who gave them training. Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar, Turkey, EU and USA. I think they did not know what they are making and what would be consequences to build ISIL. Due to their Poor Forecasting ME is burning and no body knows how long ME will burn because of these sponsors.
    In Response

    by: Crud from: Canada
    December 04, 2014 10:59 AM
    Your mistake is in thinking that they don't know what they're doing; they know exactly what they're doing. The money they're "wasting" is going right into their pockets. War is big business.

    by: David Fong from: La Mirada Ca. 90638
    December 03, 2014 9:58 PM
    WE need Desert Storm II. Maybe under Jeb Bush?

    by: ed from: US
    December 03, 2014 9:57 PM
    When will the good muslims wage jihad against the bad muslims?

    Now would be a great time.
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