News / Middle East

US: Military Force Not Only Tool to Confront Islamic State

White House press secretary Josh Earnest took questions about ISIS, Iraq, and Syria during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Aug. 25, 2014.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest took questions about ISIS, Iraq, and Syria during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Aug. 25, 2014.
VOA News

U.S. President Barack Obama has not yet made a decision to pursue military options in Syria against Islamic State extremists.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest Monday said that while the U.S. was serious about confronting the Islamic State threat, military force was not the "only tool in the toolbox."

He added that the only sustainable solution would require the active involvement of an effective and inclusive Iraqi government.

Earnest said there was no evidence of an active plot under way by the Islamic State against the U.S. homeland.

Earlier Monday, Syria said it was willing to work with the international community, including the U.S. and Britain, to fight the advance of Islamic State militants inside Syria, but it warned that any attacks should only be carried out in coordination with Damascus.

The U.S. already is carrying out extensive airstrikes with fighter jets and drones against Islamic State fighters in northern Iraq. The attacks have helped Kurdish soldiers retake the key Mosul Dam that supplies electricity and irrigation to a large swath of Iraq.

FILE - U.S. journalist James Foley, center, arrives in Tripoli after being released by the Libyan government, May 18, 2011.FILE - U.S. journalist James Foley, center, arrives in Tripoli after being released by the Libyan government, May 18, 2011.
x
FILE - U.S. journalist James Foley, center, arrives in Tripoli after being released by the Libyan government, May 18, 2011.
FILE - U.S. journalist James Foley, center, arrives in Tripoli after being released by the Libyan government, May 18, 2011.

Late last week, after an American journalist was beheaded by the militants, Washington said it was considering expanding its operations to attack Islamic State positions inside neighboring Syria.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Monday Syria was ready to help enforce a United Nations Security Council resolution approved earlier this month aimed at cutting funding and the flow of foreign fighters to the Islamic State and al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate, the al-Nusra Front.

But there is no sign that Washington is easing its opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has maintained power during a bloody three-year fight against insurgents, including Islamic State militants, seeking to overthrow him.

Moallem said any unilateral action by the United States inside Syria "would be an act of aggression." In that event, he warned that Syria's air defenses could attempt to shoot down U.S. warplanes.

Ambassador James Woolsey - former director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency during the Clinton administration and now the chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, says that  "paying particular attention to one executioner is only of modest importance.”

Woolsey said “It is a terrible thing that he did. It would be great to have intelligence about exactly where he is, and perhaps be able to let a predator fire a hellfire into his lap,” but he explained it is not a high strategic priority.

The ambassador explained the United States was fighting a movement not an individual.

An Islamic State militant uses a loud-hailer to announce to residents of Taqba city that Tabqa air base has fallen to Islamic State militants, in nearby Raqqa city, Aug. 24, 2014.An Islamic State militant uses a loud-hailer to announce to residents of Taqba city that Tabqa air base has fallen to Islamic State militants, in nearby Raqqa city, Aug. 24, 2014.
x
An Islamic State militant uses a loud-hailer to announce to residents of Taqba city that Tabqa air base has fallen to Islamic State militants, in nearby Raqqa city, Aug. 24, 2014.
An Islamic State militant uses a loud-hailer to announce to residents of Taqba city that Tabqa air base has fallen to Islamic State militants, in nearby Raqqa city, Aug. 24, 2014.

The Islamic State group has taken over much of eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq as it seeks to impose an Islamic caliphate without regard to national borders.

The group's fighters have continued to advance, seizing territory from both armed opposition groups in Syria's northern Aleppo province and from the Syrian army in northern Raqqa province. On Sunday, the Islamic State took control of Tabqa air base, the last Syrian military outpost in Raqqa.

Meanwhile, U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay accused the Islamic State of carrying out "widespread ethnic and religious cleansing," targeting people based on their ethnic, religious or sectarian affiliation.  She said such persecution amounted to crimes against humanity.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid