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The militants of ISIS “have a tough road ahead of them,” Secretary of State John Kerry told NBC News on Thursday. He said that a stronger Iraqi army, a fortified Kurdish security force and better-trained Syrian rebels will be keys to the fight.
The secretary spoke after securing agreements from Arab allies of the United States to provide some military support in the campaign against ISIS and to help stop the flow of money and foreign fighters to the militants.
Kerry stressed, as President Barack Obama did on Wednesday night, that defeating ISIS will take time. But he said the international coalition built by the United States will be committed.
“So I think the ingredients are there,” Kerry said. “Whether it gets mixed correctly and baked properly over the course of the next months and year or so, we’ll have to see. But I think the president thinks the ingredients are there.”
In his address on Wednesday, Obama said that the United States “cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves,” and he called the Syrian rebels the “best counterweight” to ISIS in that country. Kerry echoed that assessment.
Speaking of ISIS, he said: “So, I think, over time, coupled with American air power and other things that can be done here, I think they are going to have a tough road ahead of them.”