Secretary of State John Kerry says the United States has forged a coalition of NATO allies ready and able to defeat the ISIL terrorist organization within three years.
“We’re convinced that in the days ahead we have the ability to destroy ISIL,” Kerry said Friday in Wales, where he was attending a NATO summit along with US President Barack Obama. “It may take a year, it may take two years, it may take three years. But we’re determined it has to happen.”
Ministers from Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark met with Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on the sidelines of the NATO summit to weigh how to combat ISIL.
Kerry said there was “no contain policy” for confronting ISIL, stressing that the militant group must be destroyed.
“There is no contain policy for ISIL. They’re an ambitious, avowed genocidal, territorial-grabbing, Caliphate-desiring, quasi state within a regular army,” Kerry said. “And leaving them in some capacity intact anywhere would leave a cancer in place that will ultimately come back to haunt us. So there is no issue in our minds about our determination to build this coalition, go after this.”
The top US diplomat said a successful coalition strategy toward defeating ISIL would include an “all-military aspect,” but he ruled out “boots on the ground” in Syria, calling that a “red line for everybody.”
At the end of the two-day summit, President Obama also acknowledged that ISIL represents a “significant threat” to NATO members and that “there was a recognition that we have to take action” to counter that threat.
“There’s great conviction that we have to act as part of the international community to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL,” he said.
Meanwhile, Matthew Olsen, the head of the US National Counterterrorism Center, said that ISIL presents a more serious danger to Europe than to the US because a large number of militant recruits are from Europe.
“The threat is quite immediate for Europe,” Matthew Olsen said Friday. “They see it really as right on their doorstep.”
ISIL militants, some of whom were trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to fight the Syrian government, control large parts of Syria’s northern territory. The group sent its fighters into neighboring Iraq in June, quickly seizing vast expanse of land straddling the border between the two countries.