Through the efforts of the Iraqi armed forces, the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, ISIS has been defeated militarily in Iraq, and nearly so in Syria.“Yet our victories on the battlefield are not a permanent solution,” said U.S. Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism Nathan Sales.
So, the U.S. State Department is working to align civilian responses to terrorism with military ones, because that is the only way to ensure the lasting defeat of our enemies, Ambassador Sales said.
Law enforcement is part of the answer, as is better information sharing, improved border controls and designations, and sanctions that serve to cut off terrorists’ financial flows.
But more than anything else, we must counter the underlying ideas that give rise to violent extremism. “A contest of ideas is not unique to our fight against terrorism.Throughout history, our conflicts have often had ideological dimensions,” said Ambassador Sales. “America is committed to individual rights, and we recognize the inherent worth and dignity of every human being.”
Indeed, the United States is committed to religious liberty, to the notion of equality before the law, and to pluralism, he said.
“Our adversaries reject all of this. ISIS and al-Qa’ida deny the worth and dignity of the individual,” said Ambassador Sales. “And so as we confront terrorists on the battlefield, in courts of law, and in other theaters, we also must confront the twisted ideas they use to justify their barbarism.”
It helps that we share the effort with dedicated partners like Indonesia, Jordan, and Morocco, countries that are no strangers to terrorism, and are, at the same time, deeply committed to pluralism.
“We’re at a key moment in our fight against terrorism,” said Ambassador Sales. “ISIS is down, but it’s not out.In Southeast Asia, the Sahel, East Africa, Europe, and South America, the threat of terrorism and the ideas that feed it are very real.And they’re growing.
“Our military victories buy us time to win a more fundamental contest:a contest between competing ideologies.
“This essential work will require determination and patience. But I’m confident that, with the will and commitment of our partners, where we find ideologies that espouse violence, deny freedom, and reject human dignity, we have a responsibility to stand against these threats to our fundamental values.”