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Kerry: ISIL Fights to Divide, Destroy Iraq

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 7, 2014 – Condemning the “campaign of terror against the innocent” being waged by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said tonight that President Barack Obama has acted expeditiously and appropriately in authorizing targeted military action and providing humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people at a difficult moment when it is vitally needed.

“The stakes for Iraq’s future could not be clearer, and today’s crisis underscores the stakes profoundly,” Kerry said in a statement released by the State Department. “ISIL’s campaign of terror against the innocent, including Yezedi and Christian minorities, and its grotesque and targeted acts of violence bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide.”

ISIL – also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS -- is not fighting on behalf of Sunnis, Kerry said. “ISIL is not fighting for a stronger Iraq,” he added. “ISIL is fighting to divide and destroy Iraq, and ISIL is offering nothing to anyone except chaos, nihilism and ruthless thuggery.”

With a gut-wrenching humanitarian crisis unfolding and the rolls of the starving and sick growing daily, Kerry said, the United States is acting and leading. “We will continue to coordinate with our allies in the region and the international community to assist Iraqis to confront ISIL’s brutal ideology which poses a severe threat to Iraq, the region and the United States,” he added.

The only durable way to stop ISIL is for Iraq’s real leaders to unite and form an inclusive government as rapidly as possible within their own constitutional framework, including the selection of a prime minister, Kerry said.

“Iraq’s leaders must confront the growing humanitarian and security crisis with the urgency that it demands,” he said. “They must do so knowing that ISIL finds an inadvertent, unwitting ally in any delay in the political process inside Iraq. Only ISIL wins if Iraqi political leaders avoid making tough choices rapidly to tip the balance in favor of inclusive and effective governance.”

The secretary said he will remain closely engaged with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Robert S. Beecroft, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran Brett McGurk and the team on the ground in Iraq to ensure that American personnel in Erbil, Baghdad and across Iraq are secure.

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