Washington: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday vowed to relentlessly hunt down terrorists from Pakistan to the streets of Paris and called on Congress to approve new war powers against Islamic State militants and not rush into fresh sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear programme.
“We stand united with people around the world who’ve been targeted by terrorists – from a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris,” Obama said in the annual State of the Union Address, days ahead of his stand-alone visit to India. About 40 lawmakers — mainly Democrats — held up and waved yellow pencils to show solidarity with the victims of the recent terror attacks — 17 in Paris and 150 in Peshawar. Pencil became a global symbol of free speech after the brutal attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
“We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we’ve donerelentlessly since I took office to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies,” the US president said in the prime-time address. At the same time, he said the US had learnt lessons from its war against terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Instead of sending large ground forces overseas, we’re partnering with nations from South Asia to North Africa to deny safe haven to terrorists who threaten America,” he added.
Obama said that US military leadership in Iraq and Syria has stopped the Islamic State’s advance and asked lawmakers to “show the world that we are united in this mission” by passing a resolution to authorise the use of force against the militant group that holds a large tract of Iraq and Syria under its control as a self-declared caliphate.
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