Calling the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria “depraved terrorists” who pose a “threat to us all,” Sen. Barbara Boxer urged the international community Friday to join the United States in battling the extremist militant organization.
“No one — no one — is safe in a world in which ISIS is allowed to terrorize and grow unchecked,” Boxer, D-Calif., said at Los Angeles City Hall.
ISIS, a group that split off from al-Qaida and aims to establish an Islamic state called a caliphate, “controls wide swathes of land across much of the eastern parts of Syria and northwest Iraq,” Boxer said.
The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a bulletin today instructing local law enforcement to be on alert for possible attacks within the United States in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes against ISIS.
Boxer, speaking on the ISIS threat and a variety of other international and domestic issues, said other nations, as well as the United Nations and NATO — an alliance of 28 countries including France, the United Kingdom and Germany — should “do more to address this crisis.”
“We should go after ISIS. The whole world should go after ISIS. We cannot sit back,” she said.
Boxer said she supports President Barack Obama‘s Aug. 7 “decision to authorize … targeted air strikes in Iraq,” and maintains the “current fight against ISIS is not a continuation of the war in Iraq.”
She added that ISIS was “born out of the deeply flawed U.S. engagement in Iraq,” which she voted against.
The war in Iraq “exacerbated the long-simmering sectarian divisions in that country and helped sow the seeds of both al-Qaida in Iraq and ISIS,” she said. Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s “failure to create an inclusive government … set the stage” for the rise of ISIS, which has “become perhaps the most dangerous terrorist group the world has ever known, Boxer said.
The group, which has been known to carry out public executions such as beheadings and executions — often recording them — this week released a video showing the beheading of U.S. photojournalist James Foley.
Another U.S. journalist, Steven Sotloff, was also shown in the video, with a narrator saying he would also be killed if the airstrikes continue.
The group, also referred to as the Islamic State or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has targeted ethnic and religious minority groups, including the Yazidis who have been forced to flee to the mountains in northwest Iraq to avoid death.
Obama responded to Foley’s beheading by saying the air strikes would continue, likening the group to “cancer.” He has said he ordered the airstrikes, along with humanitarian airdrops of food and water, to help the tens of thousands of Yazidis who were being massacred and are threatened with starvation if they remain in the mountains.
— City News Service
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