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Obama Warns of Expanding Battle Against Islamic State

Obama Warns of Expanding Battle Against Islamic Statei
Jeff Seldin
August 27, 2014 8:12 PM
The United States is preparing to extend its reach in the effort to contain the group known as the Islamic State. Officials say Washington will do what it needs to do in order to protect American citizens. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.

The United States is preparing to extend its reach in the effort to contain the group known as the Islamic State. Officials say Washington will do what it needs to do in order to protect American citizens.

Underscoring the possible internal threat in the United State from IS, a White House spokesman confirmed an NBC News that a California man was killed while fighting on the side of the militant group in Syria.

"We were aware of U.S. citizen Douglas McAuthur McCain’s presence in Syria and can confirm his death," said a statement released by Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

"We continue to use every tool we possess to disrupt and dissuade individuals from traveling abroad for violent jihad and to track and engage those who return,"  she said.

U.S. authorities have said in recent months that dozens of Americans have joined forces with IS fighters.

On a day when the U.S. launched new airstrikes in Irbil, in northern Iraq, against the group known as the Islamic State, President Barack Obama sent a warning to its members.

"America does not forget; our reach is long. We are patient. Justice will be done," Obama said.

The remark was a reference to the Islamic State’s brutal execution of kidnapped U.S. journalist James Foley.
With the group continuing to make gains in neighboring Syria, Obama said the challenge is clear.

"Rooting out a cancer like ISIL won't be easy, and it won't be quick," said Obama.

The U.S. has been conducting as many as 60 surveillance flights a day over Iraq - with some peering across the border into Syria.  Now, administration officials say President Obama has authorized similar flights over Syria itself.

Officials remain tight-lipped about whether that signals the U.S. is preparing to begin airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria.  

But Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said whatever comes next, U.S. forces will be ready.

"We need to stay mindful of doing what we need to do to protect American citizens at home and abroad, and as has been stated before, we’re not going to hold ourselves to geographic boundaries to accomplish that job," Kirby said.

U.S. officials say the Islamic State is a regional threat with global aspirations. In addition to carrying out airstrikes in Iraq.

U.S. efforts have focused on strengthening Iraqi and Kurdish forces. And on Tuesday, several more countries agreed to help speed weapons and ammunition to Kurdish forces fighting on the front lines.

These efforts have not always satisfied Iraqi or Kurdish officials. The president of Iraq’s Kurdistan region credits Iran with being the first country to help supply needed arms.

Moderate groups in Syria, taking on both the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State, also have been waiting. A proposed U.S. program to get them more arms and training has yet to materialize.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

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Comment Sorting
by: meanbill from: USA
August 26, 2014 11:39 PM
THE WISE MAN said it;.. I wonder if he still thought what he was dying for was worth it, and did he wish he was back in California, and did he pray to Allah in those last seconds of life he had left?

PS;.. It's funny what you think of in those last seconds of your life.

August 26, 2014 10:33 PM
The Easy Solution of this problem, is to ask Sponsors of this Terrorist Group not to give Training, Financial Back up and health treatment on their soil. If USA has no idea who are sponsors of this group, I tell you Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Jordon. I know if USA use its power against these sponsors then this problem will be solve quickly. If we use air strike against these terrorist group on one hand and support them with other hand, then this problem will Never be solved.

by: Mark from: Virginia
August 26, 2014 10:28 PM
I have heard similar words, spoken by a former President, that launched America into a nine-year long war in Iraq, that now everyone is still trying to blame for our current woes. When the Trade Center Towers fell, Bush stood there with a bullhorn and said '...I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down, will hear all of us soon-"
Now, for a President who pledged to bring our troops home, is saying “America does not forget; our reach is long. We are patient. Justice will be done,"

History is always the same, history repeats. And here we go, again...

Does anyone realize, that since 1900 to present day (114 years), we have known 64 years of peace, and 48 years of conflict and war. The longest period of unbroken peace this country has experienced, was between 1918 and 1941, after that, we have known less than 10 years without some engagement with a foreign country involving our military forces. That is not a good ratio of peace and war. Not a generation has lived in those 114 years that did not have a war to deal with.
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
August 27, 2014 7:47 AM
Hey Mark.... All those conflicts and wars the US started was to make the world a better place, and protect America and Americans, (and looking back), we didn't win a war or defeat anybody, and they are still there, and we are still here, (and Bin Laden is dead), and someone said the world is a safer place, or was that a foolish dream of someone without common sense?

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