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The White House
For Immediate Release

WHITE HOUSE VIDEO MESSAGE: The President’s strategy to degrade and destroy ISIL


Office of the Press Secretary

EMBARGOED UNTIL 6:00 AM ET, SATURDAY, September 13, 2014

WHITE HOUSE VIDEO MESSAGE: The President’s strategy to degrade and destroy ISIL

WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s message, Ricardo Zúñiga reiterated the President’s comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group ISIL. The President’s plan brings together a campaign of targeted airstrikes, increased support for Iraqi and Kurdish forces already taking on terrorists, assistance from allies and partners, expanded efforts to train and equip the Syrian opposition, and ongoing humanitarian aid for those displaced by ISIL. Ricardo Zúñiga expressed the President and our country’s immense appreciation for the military men and women who make these efforts possible, and reminded the world that America continues to lead and stand strong against terror.

The audio of the address and video of the message will be available online HERE.

Remarks of Ricardo Zúñiga, Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs in the National Security Council

Spanish Weekly Address

The White House

The President’s highest priority is the security of the American people. And he’s made it clear that those who threaten us will find no safe haven. Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, we took out Osama bin Laden, much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And leaders of al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and Somalia. We’ve prevented terrorist attacks, saved American lives and made our homeland more secure.

Today, the terrorist threat is more diffuse, from al Qaeda affiliates and other extremists—like ISIL in Syria and Iraq. Our intelligence community has not yet detected specific ISIL plots against our homeland. But its leaders have repeatedly threatened the United States. So we’re moving ahead with our strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist organization.

To meet a threat like this, we have to be smart. And we have to avoid the mistakes of the past. American military power is unmatched, but this can’t be America’s fight alone. And the best way to defeat a group like ISIL isn’t by sending large numbers of American combat forces to wage a ground war in the heart of the Middle East. In fact, it would only risk fueling the very extremism we’re facing. What’s needed now is a targeted, relentless counterterrorism campaign against ISIL that combines American air power, contributions from allies and partners, and more support to forces that are fighting these terrorists on the ground.

We’re moving ahead with our campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists, and we’re prepared to take action against ISIL in Syria as well. The additional American forces the President ordered to Iraq will help Iraqi and Kurdish forces with the training, intelligence and equipment they need to take the fight to these terrorists on the ground. We’re working with Congress to expand our efforts to train and equip the Syrian opposition. We’ll continue to strengthen our defenses here at home. And we’ll continue to provide the humanitarian relief to help Iraqi civilians who have been driven from their homes and who remain in extreme danger.

Because we’re leading the right way, more nations are joining our coalition. This week, Arab nations agreed to strengthen their support for the new Iraqi government and to do to their part in the fight against ISIL, including aspects of the military campaign. Saudi Arabia will join the efforts to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition forces.

Today, every American can be proud of our men and women in uniform who are serving in this effort.

Today we’re showing the world the best of American leadership. We will protect our people. We will take the fight to terrorists who threaten our nation. We will stand with partners who defend their countries and rally other nations to meet a common threat. And here at home—thirteen years after our country was attacked—we continue to stand tall and proud. Because we’re Americans. We don’t give in to fear. We carry on. And we will never waver in the defense of the country we love.