- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 11, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that the Obama administration is not at war with the Islamic State group, despite its stated commitment to sending 475 more troops to Iraq, increasing airstrikes in the region, and arming Syrian rebels who have been vetted.

“What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counter-terrorism operation,” Mr. Kerry toldCNN Thursday. “It’s going to go on for some period of time. If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it’s a major counterterrorism operation that will have many different moving parts.”

In a televised address to the nation Wednesday night, President Obama said, “Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.”

The president also said the U.S. military has conducted more than 150 airstrikes in Iraq, killed members Islamic State group, and helped Kurdish forces reclaim territory last to the Islamic radicals.

Mr. Kerry will travel across the Middle East and Europe in the days ahead to try and broaden a coalition created to dismantle the terror group. The secretary told CNN that he hopes the international community will “meet a unifying threat with a unified response.”

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