Obama: Struggle must continue to stop ISIS ideology

2015-09-29 20:00
Barack Obama (AP)

Barack Obama (AP)

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New York - US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that countries will need to continue the long-term struggle against Islamic State (ISIS) and other violent extremist groups by defeating them not only on the battlefield, but also ideologically.

Obama, who chaired a high-level summit on terrorism on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, said the deep-seated ideology of the Islamic State needs to be dismantled, which was born out of systemic problems that simmered for decades in the Middle East and North Africa.

"Even if we were to wipe out the entire cadre of [Islamic State] leadership, we would still have some of these forces at work," Obama said.

However, he said he was optimistic that by working together to fight Islamic State militarily, cut off their funding, build resilient communities and discredit their propaganda online, nations can defeat extremism.

"Like terrorists and tyrants throughout history, [Islamic State] will eventually lose because it has nothing to offer but suffering and death," he said.

"We will ultimately prevail, because we are guided by a stronger, better vision - a commitment to the security, opportunity and dignity of every human being."

Obama addressed leaders and representatives from more than 100 nations, over 20 multilateral institutions and 120 civil society groups.

He praised the advances the coalition consisting of about 60 nations fighting against Islamic State has made during the last year; he noted the extremist group has lost one-third of the populated area that it had controlled in Iraq.

With the support of Turkey, Islamic State has been pushed back in the northern part of Syria and has been cut off from the region bordering Turkey, he said.

King Abdullah Ibn al-Hussein of Jordan said Muslim nations need to reclaim their religion.

"This war can only be won on the ideological plain," he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron also called for fighting "the extremism behind violent extremism," noting that the development of the mindset that leads to terrorism needs to be prevented.

Hate preachers 

"We have to stop this process at the start, not at the end," Cameron said.

In Western countries, he said, this requires building more integrated societies and stopping the incubation of extremist ideas by "rooting out" hate preachers.

"I believe in freedom of speech, but freedom of hate is not the same thing," Cameron said.

"To take away the building blocks of extremism that lead people to an extremist worldview ... that I think is as important as the military, political, diplomatic and other steps that we will take as part of this vital campaign."

The US also bolstered sanctions against Islamic State on Tuesday by listing several of the terrorist group's subsidiaries and more than two dozen individuals. The move targets the group's finances, logistics and recruitment and prohibits US citizens from doing business with the terrorists and freezes any assets they may have in US banks.

Among those listed are the group's affiliates in the Caucasus, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the head of the group's Libyan affiliate, several people involved in recruitment and hostage taking and several Russian, French and British citizens.

Read more on:    un  |  isis  |  barack obama  |  us

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