Washington | Defence Secretary Ashton Carter today issued a stern warning to those, in particular the Islamic State militants, who threaten or try to harm the US. We’ve made it clear that those who threaten or incite harm to Americans, wherever they are, will surely come to feel the long arm and the hard fist of justice, Carter said in an address to his soldiers at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He said the US campaign to deliver Islamic State (ISIS) or ISIL a lasting defeat, at its source and wherever it rears its head, is far from over. But the outcome is not uncertain. There will be extraordinary challenges ahead, and as I will emphasize in Paris next week, we must all do more, he said. But our campaign will continue to adapt and build on our success as ISIL’s territory decreases, its resources dwindle and local, capable forces gain the capacity to not only win on the field of battle, but to lay the foundation for lasting security in the region and a more secure future for the world, he added.
Observing that US alone cannot accomplish the goal of defeating the ISIS, he said its lasting defeat must be a global undertaking because it’s a global threat. Any nation that cares about the safety of its people or the future of its civilisation must know this. America will continue to lead the fight, but there can be no free riders, he said. That means as we invest in the acceleration of the campaign, so much every one of our coalition partners and every nation in a position to help, he said. That means greater military contributions, but it also means greater diplomatic, political and economic engagement. It means development and reconstruction. It means actions at home and abroad to disrupt, dismantle and degrade ISIL’s capabilities. It means stepping up, he said.
Carter said that he has personally reached out to his counterparts, the ministers of defence in 40 countries, to ask them to contribute to enhancing the fight against ISIL, more special operations forces, more strike and reconnaissance aircraft, weapons and munitions, training assistance, as well as combat support and combat service support. Many nations are already contributing greatly. Many can do more. And some are on the wrong track entirely. We don’t ask for favours, but neither do we grant favours. We recognise that nations follow their own interests as we follow ours.
That means that they themselves must accelerate their efforts disrupting the networks that enable the flow of foreign fighters and materiel through their lands, he said. That means joining and taking advantage of the opportunity to fight ISIL in Iraq and Syria before it becomes a more serious threat to their public. And for Muslim-majority nations, in particular, that means stepping forward and debunking ISIL’s false claims to religious or ideological excuses for brutality, he argued.
Subscribe to our email newsletter.