WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2015 —
The United States is looking for ways to do more to hasten the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told service members on Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, yesterday.
The secretary, who is now in Baghdad, told U.S. airmen and international allies that ISIL must be defeated in Iraq and Syria because that is “where the parent tumor is.”
ISIL has metastasized to other parts of the world. Boko Haram in Africa and terror groups in Libya have pledged loyalty to the terror organization. And there is a growing ISIL cell in Afghanistan that threatens progress in that country, defense officials have said.
“But the defeat here in Syria and Iraq is necessary, and we need to hasten that," Carter said. "And that means thinking of all the ways that we can find capable, motivated partners on the ground, enable them, strike from the air, work with them and eliminate ISIL from Raqqa, eliminate ISIL from western Iraq and give the people … back their territory."
The defense secretary pointed to the arrival of additional resources at Incirlik -- more aircraft, more personnel -- and to the growing international coalition as proof of the commitment to take on ISIL.
He said the campaign against the group requires international partners. “We really are looking for the rest of the world to step up,” Carter said. “America is stepping up, we need our allies are partners around the world to step up and do more, and that’s true in Europe, it’s true in the Gulf … and it’s really true everywhere in the world where this is metastasizing.”
The secretary noted that the battle against violent extremism must be fought in its various homelands as well.
“I’m confident we’ll do that, but we need to do that as fast as we can,” he said. “I’m looking to you, and I’ve told the American commanders this: If you have ideas for how to get there faster, we want to hear them.”
Carter thanked the service members for their sacrifices and dedication. He said he takes their work very seriously as he looks to intensify the effort to battle ISIL.
“We will defeat ISIL. We will succeed,” the defense secretary said. “We need to succeed as fast as possible, and that will require all the ingenuity and effort represented in this room, not just by the Americans, but by our coalition partners.”
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)