The G-20 meeting in Antalya, Turkey, that ended Monday was supposed to address the economy. But the Nov. 13 terrorist attack on Paris changed that agenda, and President Barack Obama pledged to redouble efforts against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).
ISIL claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris that killed 132 people and wounded more than 350. Subsequently, French aircraft bombed ISIL’s quasi-capital city of Raqqa in Syria.
“We’re working closely with our French partners as they pursue their investigations and track down suspects,” Obama said during a news conference. “France is already a strong counterterrorism partner, and today we’re announcing a new agreement. We’re streamlining the process by which we share intelligence and operational military information with France.”
Paris was just the latest attack; ISIL hit Beirut last week and Turkey last month. The terror group also claimed to have planted a bomb aboard a Russian airliner that crashed in Sinai.
“Here at the G-20, our nations have sent an unmistakable message: that we are united against this threat,” Obama said. “ISIL is the face of evil. Our goal, as I’ve said many times, is to degrade and ultimately destroy this barbaric terrorist organization.”
Obama said the effort will use all elements of power to take out the group: military, diplomatic, law enforcement and economic. He cautioned that this strategy will take time to be effective.
The G-20 nations agreed to strengthen border controls, share more information and step up efforts to prevent the flow of foreign fighters in and out of Syria and Iraq.
The United States is reaching out to all in the anti-ISIL effort, the president said. He is reaching out to Russia and Iran, who are supporting the Bashar Assad regime in Syria, explaining “that ultimately, an organization like ISIL is the greatest danger to them, as well as to us.”
Obama added, “There will be an intensification of the strategy we put forward, but the strategy that we are putting forward is the strategy that ultimately is going to work.”
In the picture above: President Barack Obama, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom and the other members and staff of the G20 Summit, observe a moment of silence during Working Session One in Antalya, Turkey for the victims of the terrorist attacks in France, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. (White House Photo by Pete Souza)