Kerry: U.S. ‘not intimidated’ by ‘barbaric’ ISIS

While Kerry said the U.S. was ‘not intimidated’ by ISIS, he described the jihadist group as already surpassing al-Qaeda in power

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Secretary of State John Kerry issued a warning Monday to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants that “we are not intimidated” after another American hostage was killed, the Associated Press reported.

Kerry said the brutality of ISIS and its potential spread worldwide as a key reason, among many, that the United States must remain deeply engaged in the Mideast. He said also defended a leading U.S. role in efforts against ISIS, saying it had “become a threat to America’s core interests.”

“This conflict is between civilization itself and barbarism,” Kerry told a forum in Washington

He added: “If we don't defeat ISIS there will be no viable future for the Middle East.”

U.S. bombings of ISIS positions in Syria will continue, he said, adding the world will not bow to the jihadists’ strategy of fear.

“Let us be clear: We are not intimidated, you are not intimidated, our friends and partners are not intimidated,” Kerry said.

He stressed that failure to defeat ISIS at its roots could foment chaos for governments and communities a world away from the Middle East.

Left unchecked, Kerry warned that ISIS could grow worldwide. Already, he said, the ISIS has seized more land and resources “than al-Qaeda ever had on its best day of its existence.”

His comments came right before he headed overseas for nuclear talks with Iran as a Nov. 24 deadline for a deal looms.

Immediately after the speech, Kerry headed to London, where he will hold talks with European and Mideast officials on the Iran negotiations as well as volatile situations in the Mideast.

From London, Kerry will travel to Vienna, where the next round of nuclear talks is set to begin on Tuesday and continue through the week, the State Department says.

Kerry may not take part in all the negotiating sessions in Vienna, and other stops are possible, officials said Monday.

In a related story, ISIS on Monday claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb attack against a U.N. convoy near Baghdad airport.

“Our brother Abu Muawiya al-Falluji rammed a convoy for the ‘United Nations waging war against Muslims’ surrounded by heavy U.S. protection,” Agence France-Presse quoted the group as saying in a statement.

The attack, which injured three people, was the first in a long time against the United Nations.

On Sunday, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. military was starting its program to train and advise Iraqi forces ahead of schedule in an effort to accelerate efforts in the fight ISIS.

U.S. special operations troops are in Iraq’s western Anbar province where they began training and advising Iraqi government forces, Hagel said, without adding details.

The acceleration of plans comes after it was recommended by Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command, Hagel told reporters after observing Army training in California’s Mojave Desert.

The U.S. plans on training nine Iraqi security forces brigades in addition to three Kurdish Peshmerga brigades.

(With Associated Press and AFP)

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