We will destroy you, Obama vows to 'barbaric' rebels of Islamic State
Published 04/09/2014 | 02:30
US President Barack Obama promised to "degrade and destroy" Isil in Iraq yesterday, pledging that "justice will be served" following the beheading of a second American journalist.
The president called the killing of Steven Sotloff a "barbaric" act that summed up the group's "empty vision".
"Those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget, and that our reach is long, and that justice will be served," Mr Obama said on a visit to Estonia ahead of this week's NATO summit in Wales.
"Americans are repulsed by their barbarism. We will not be intimidated. Their horrific acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve to take the fight against these terrorists."
John Kerry, the US secretary of state, said the killing was a "punch to the gut" of America and, promised that Washington would hold accountable those responsible "no matter how long it took".
"Barbarity, sadly, isn't new to our world. Neither is evil. We've taken the fight to it before, and we're taking the fight to it today," he added. Joe Biden, the vice-president, also decried Mr Sotloff's killers as "barbarians", vowing during a speech at a naval shipyard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, that the US would "follow them to gates of Hell until they are brought to justice".
However Mr Obama cautioned that, while the US remained "confident" that Isil would ultimately be defeated, it would "take some time" and require the efforts of an international coalition.
"Because of what's happened in the vacuum of Syria, as well as the battle-hardened elements that grew out of al-Qa'ida in Iraq during the course of the Iraq war, it's going to take time for us to be able to roll them back," he said.
Mr Obama is facing mounting public demand at home to take swift, punitive action against Isil fighters, including expanding America's limited campaign of air strikes in Iraq to include targets in Syria.
But Obama administration officials have made clear that America will not be goaded into unilateral action, but is determined to build a coalition, including Middle Eastern powers, reminiscent of that formed by former president George Bush before the first Gulf war in 1991. (© Daily Telegraph, London)