Obama points to "silver lining" in IS mayhem in the region

US President Barack Obama has pointed to a "silver lining" in the violence wrought by the Islamic State, saying it has brought "clarity" in the Muslim world in a long time about the need to snuff out this "brand of Islamic extremism".

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 13, 2014, 12:07 PM IST

Washington: US President Barack Obama has pointed to a "silver lining" in the violence wrought by the Islamic State, saying it has brought "clarity" in the Muslim world in a long time about the need to snuff out this "brand of Islamic extremism".

At a Democratic Party fund-raiser, Obama said the militant group ISIS, poses the most prominent threat in the Middle East when it comes to terrorism. ISIS, he said has not only taken over large swathes of Iraq and Syria but displayed the kind of brutality that even by the standards of terrorists is extraordinary.

"What also is a silver lining in the terrible mayhem that ISIL has wrought throughout the region is that it has focussed attention I think for the first time in a long time in the Muslim world, a great clarity about the need to completely distance from and ultimately snuff out this particular brand of Islamic extremism that really has no place in the 21st century," Obama said yesterday.

"And that is I think a measure of how we have got to approach these problems because they?re not going to go away immediately,? he said.

"What gives me confidence is that we're on the right side of history here," he added.

In his televised speech earlier, Obama had vowed to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State, as he announced a dramatic expansion of the US-led military campaign, including airstrikes for the first time in Syria and the formation of a broad coalition to fight the dreaded militant group so that it would "find no safe haven".

"We will defeat ISIL, but there are always going to be these threats of terrorism and we're going to have to make sure that we are creating the structure and the partnerships and the commitment that allows us over the long haul to win this fight," Obama said.

Meanwhile, the White House and Pentagon concurred that President Obama was determined to lead the world in defeating the terrorist organisation (ISIS), as vowed by him in his televised address.

"United States is at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliates around the globe, the United States is at war with ISIL," Earnest told reporters yesterday.

"The strategy that the Obama Administration has put in place is a counter-terrorism strategy that has been successful in other areas where there are extremist groups seeking a safe haven to do harm to the US.

"This counter-terrorism strategy includes building up the capacity of local forces to take the fight to these extremist groups on the ground in their country," he said.

The White House statement was echoed by the Pentagon.

"What I said was this is not the Iraq war of 2002. But make no mistake, we know we are at war with ISIL in the same way we're at war and continue to be at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliates,"Pentagon Press Secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby, told reporters.

"But military measures are not going to be enough," Kirby said, but reiterated that "there would be no troops on the ground. The destruction of ISIL and their capabilities is going to require more than just airpower."

"It also is going to take the ultimate destruction of their ideology," he added.