- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2014

Despite top military leaders saying last week that ground troops may be necessary to fight the Islamic State in some situations, Secretary of State John Kerry said again Monday that those troops would not be American military members in combat.

“The president is correct to say Americans are not going to go back in there because we’ve learned a lot. This is a fight for the region,” Mr. Kerry said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It is absolutely appropriate for the world to expect those countries to fight for themselves.”

When asked how the U.S. could be sure it’s giving arms or training to people who won’t become threats in the future, Mr. Kerry pointed to success stories in Iraq and Afghanistan where Americans have been able to enable fighters in the Middle East to defend themselves.

“We’ve been working with the Free Syrian Army for several years,” Mr. Kerry said. “The fact is that we have gotten very good at knowing who they are and vetting them. We’ve been doing 20 years of vetting now, beginning in Iraq, moving to Afghanistan.”

The American-trained military in Afghanistan has seen its fair share of problems, however, including green-on-blue attacks where Afghan forces attack Americans.

Mr. Kerry said some Middle Eastern countries had been funding the Islamic State, thinking that they would get rid of Syrian President Bashar Assad while a second war would remove the terrorist group from power. Since it’s become clear what a threat they pose to the area and the world, however, state-sponsored funding has stopped, Mr. Kerry said.

Individuals in some countries, however, are still funding the terrorists, he said.

“Some of the biggest funders individually are coming from a number of countries in the region, and that is a major focus,” he said. “We’re disappointed in any country that is allowing foreign fighters to come in, that is allowing funding to come in from individuals.”

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