State Dept's Harf: "This Is Not About ISIL Versus The United States"

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QUESTION: Talking about ISIL, it’s like yesterday you described all these confrontation may take place more and more, and the question is now in the area is like and all the people are asking is make a difference now in the type and the scope and the tactics of confrontation with ISIL than it was like 10 days ago or a week ago?

MARIE HARF, STATE DEPARTMENT: Well, let’s – two points on that. As I said yesterday, we don’t rule anything out in terms of protecting our people or bringing those to justice who have hurt our people wherever country that’s in. And I’m not indicating decisions made in any way, shape, or form, but I just want to be very clear that we maintain the ability and retain the capability to go after people who harm our citizens wherever they are. So let’s do Point A there.

Point B is we’re still very focused, and let’s not lose sight of what we’re doing in Iraq that’s been going after ISIL, both obviously setting aside the humanitarian situation but outside – around Mount Sinjar, helping break the siege there by hitting ISIL targets, protecting Erbil, helping the Iraqis take back the Mosul Dam from ISIL. We are very focused on going after ISIL strategically when it impacts the goals the President laid out in Iraq, and we’re looking long-term at how we can do that more going forward. But we are engaged very heavily right now in fighting them and in helping to build capability of the Iraqis to do that.

QUESTION: The reason I am asking you this question because you are mentioning Mount Sinjar and Erbil and all these things, but the real issue now is becoming different. I mean, even they are announcing ISIL people in their message, whatever the recorded messages and other messages, that now we are in a war with America.

MS. HARF: This is not about ISIL versus the United States. I think I made that clear yesterday. They are killing anyone who gets in their way – Sunni, Shia Muslims, Christians, Yezidis, Iraqis, Syrians – anyone who gets in their way, and now an American. So this is not about what the United States is or isn’t doing. This is about ISIL’s stated commitment to murder, rape, enslave people who don’t agree with their ideology and who get in their way. And I think the more we can say that – because it’s true – it’s important for people to remember that as they look at the overall picture.

QUESTION: The reason that I’m asking this question because it’s – it – I mean, I – in realities and in politics is matter how they look to us or how they look to United States. It’s not how they – we look to them or we are seeing it. It’s like – but they are announcing that it’s a war against America. Right or wrong, that’s what they are saying.

MS. HARF: Well, they can say whatever they’d like. But what I am making clear is that’s not what ISIL represents, and they don’t represent any religion. They are at war with everybody they come into contact with. And that’s why we are very focused, when we outline goals, on attacking their targets when they threaten those goals; on helping the Iraqis gain in capability to fight this threat on their own; and, to be very clear, holding people accountable when they hurt our people. That’s something we’re very focused on and that’s certainly what will be a guiding principle of our action going forward.

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