Obama calls for anti-jihadist front

Posted on September 5, 2014

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2014-09-05

BAGHDAD – US President Barack Obama called for an international front against jihadists in Iraq and Syria after they beheaded a second American reporter, as Britain and France weighed military action.
“We know that if we are joined by the international community, we can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities,” said Obama, referring to the Islamic State (ISIS). “And the question is going to be making sure we’ve the right strategy, but also making sure that we’ve the international will to do it,” he said in Estonia’s capital Tallinn. Britain, with one of its nationals also under threat of beheading, said it would not rule out taking part in air strikes if necessary.

“I can assure you that we will look at every possible option to protect this person,” Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said. And French President Francois Hollande likewise raised the prospect of a military response to the threat posed by IS.

“The head of state underlined the importance of a political, humanitarian and if necessary military response in accordance with international law” to fight against IS, the presidency said.

Obama pledged that justice would be done to the killers of 31-year-old reporter Steven Sotloff, wherever they hid and however long it took.

Obama will lead a UN Security Council session on the threat of foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria on 25 September, a US official said on Wednesday.

His Secretary of State John Kerry revealed he was working to forge a global coalition to fight the “medieval savagery” of Islamic militants terrorising a swathe of Syria and Iraq.

IS on Tuesday posted video footage on the Internet of Sotloff’s beheading, confirmed as authentic by Washington, sparking outrage around the world. It said the journalist’s killing, which came on the heels of the beheading last month of another US reporter, James Foley, was in retaliation for expanded US air strikes against its fighters in Iraq during the past week.

It warned that a British hostage would be next unless London backs off from its support for Washington’s air campaign. Obama said Washington was determined to halt the IS threat but warned it would depend on close co-operation with partners in the region.

The United Arab Emirates voiced its readiness to “take needed measures”, as Iraq condemned the beheadings as “an act of savagery and evil” that showed the urgency of defeating the jihadists.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the beheading video depicted an “absolutely disgusting, despicable act” and chaired a meeting of security chiefs to discuss how to tackle the IS threat.

– Nampa-AFP

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