Obama warns of new terror safe havens in places like Pakistan
Washington : Warning that Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East could become safe havens for new terrorist networks, US President Barack Obama in his final State of the Union address today promised that he would go after al-Qaeda and ISIS to keep America and its allies safe.
“Both al-Qaeda and now ISIL pose a direct threat to our people, because in today’s world, even a handful of terrorists who place no value on human life, including their own, can do a lot of damage,” Obama said in his hour-long prime-time speech.
He said America’s foreign policy must be focused on the threat from ISIL and al Qaeda.
“..but it can’t stop there. For even without ISIL, instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world – in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in parts of Central America, Africa and Asia. Some of these places may become safe havens for new terrorist networks,” said Obama, who will demit office next January.
“The world will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians,” he said as he asked Republicans to join him in his fight against terrorism.
“If this Congress is serious about winning this war, and wants to send a message to our troops and the world, you should finally authorise the use of military force against ISIL. Take a vote,” he said in his eighth consecutive address.
“But the American people should know that with or without Congressional action, ISIL will learn the same lessons as terrorists before them…When you come after Americans, we go after you. It may take time, but we have long memories, and our reach has no limit,” Obama said.
Obama said terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State or ISIL use the Internet to poison the minds of individuals inside the country and undermine American allies.
“But as we focus on destroying ISIL, over-the-top claims that this is World War III just play into their hands. Masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks and twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages pose an enormous danger to civilians and must be stopped,” Obama said.
“We don’t need to build them up to show that we’re serious, nor do we need to push away vital allies in this fight by echoing the lie that ISIL is representative of one of the world’s largest religions. We just need to call them what they are – killers and fanatics who have to be rooted out, hunted down, and destroyed,” Obama said.
America has led a coalition of more than 60 countries to cut off ISIL’s financing, disrupt their plots, stop the flow of terrorist fighters, and stamp out their vicious ideology, he said.
“With nearly 10,000 air strikes, we are taking out their leadership, their oil, their training camps, and their weapons. We are training, arming, and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in Iraq and Syria,” he said.