President Obama issued a rallying call for the world to unite behind the military campaign to destroy Islamic State's "network of death" yesterday as he seized the mantle of a wartime president from the podium of the United Nations.
peaking to world leaders after a second night of US-led airstrikes against Isil positions in Syria and Iraq, the Nobel Peace Prize-winner inset, outlined in dire terms the "generational" struggle to combat the "the cancer of violent extremism".
The US president later chaired an unusual session of the UN security council on foreign jihadis which was expected to adopt a resolution requiring countries to pass laws to prosecute citizens who join jihadist groups or send them funds.
Mr Obama declared that the world stood at a crossroads between war and peace and spoke of the "pervasive unease" across the planet in the face of challenges ranging from the Ebola epidemic to Russian aggression in Ukraine.
The president who came to office promising to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan laid out a wide-ranging plan for US leadership of a "broad coalition" in the Middle East to defeat Isil, a group that understood only "the language of force".
He directed much of his speech at the Islamic world as he urged political and religious leaders and individual Muslims to take on the extremists everywhere from the battlefield to social media.
"No God condones this terror," he said. "No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning - no negotiation - with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death." The president again signalled that the air strikes launched on Monday against Isil positions were the start of a long campaign to crush the terrorists. "Those who have joined Isil should leave the battlefield while they can," he warned. There would be no US troops occupying foreign lands, he pledged, but America would deploy its military might in the air and train and equip anti-Isil forces on the ground.
Mr Obama invoked the "notinmyname" Twitter campaign by young British Muslims, declaring that the group was "hiding behind a false Islam", as an example how the Islamic community could also reject the ideology of extremism.
"It is time for the world - especially Muslim communities - to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of al-Qa'ida and Isil," he said. "There should be no more tolerance of so-called clerics who call upon people to harm innocents because they are Jewish, Christian or Muslim.
"This ideology will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed, confronted, and refuted in the light of day," he said.
Even as he spoke of the impeding war to defeat Isil, he also insisted that the only a political settlement could end a civil war that has claimed more than 200,000 lives. "There is no other way for this madness to end - whether one year from now or 10," he said.
Mr Obama struck a very different tone from his address to the UN general assembly a year ago, in which he said:"When it comes to America and Islam, there is no us and them - there is only us, because millions of Muslim Americans are part of the fabric of our country," he said. (© Daily Telegraph London)