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Kerry On Countering Violent Extremism


Iraqi federal policemen patrol in the town of Taji, about 20 kilometers north of Baghdad, Iraq. (File)

ISIL, or, as it is also known, Daesh, continues to pose a serious threat to the region and the international community but the counter-ISIL Coalition has made significant gains in blunting its momentum and continues to push forward in its effort to degrade and ultimately defeat these terrorists.

ISIL, or, as it is also known, Daesh, continues to pose a serious threat to the region and the international community but the counter-ISIL Coalition has made significant gains in blunting its momentum and continues to push forward in its effort to degrade and ultimately defeat these terrorists. As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Davos, Switzerland, the international community "must act as one" in countering the extremist threat. "And the place to begin is quite simply by defeating [Daesh]."

The reason to go after Daesh first, said Secretary Kerry is "because they are better armed, better trained, better funded, and have been more able to hold onto territory than any other terrorist group in history; because they directly threaten the peace and stability not of one group in Iraq, but of every single country in the region; and because they have further overtly threatened to take their threat around the globe and are working to do so."

Already, efforts by the United States and the international community have paid off. Just four months ago, Daesh was trumpeting plans for seizing Baghdad. But then two things happened. In Iraq, a new government was assembled that is intent on reform. And second, an international coalition of 60-plus members committed to disrupt, degrade, and ultimately defeat Daesh.The United States is deeply involved in leading both of those developments with help from Arab friends, European allies, and others from across the globe.

Since September, as part of a comprehensive strategy, the coalition has launched some 2,000 air strikes, disrupted Daesh’s command structure, undermined its propaganda, squeezed its financing, damaged its supply networks, dispersed personnel, and forced them to change tactics.

Today in much of Iraq, Daesh’s momentum has dissipated. And with coalition support, Iraqi forces have retaken territory and put Daesh on the defensive. And in Syria, Daesh has seen its command facilities attacked, its oil infrastructure damaged, and has failed in its attempt to control Kobani. No large Daesh unit can move forward aggressively without worrying what will come down from the skies now.

The rise of violent extremism poses a challenge to the nation state and the global rule of law. "Our collective future," said Secretary Kerry, "will be uncompromised by the primitive and paranoid ideas of terrorists, but instead it will be built by the universal values of decency and civility, and knowledge and reason and law."

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