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President Barack Obama on Monday pledged solidarity with France after explosives and gunfire killed more than 120 people last week in Paris during coordinated terror attacks claimed by ISIS.
“ISIS is the face of evil,” Obama said during a news conference at the end of the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey. “Our goal is to destroy this barbaric organization.”
The tough talk came at the annual meeting of international leaders. A cloud hung over the event after three teams converged on six locations in Paris with explosives and high-powered weapons on Friday, killing 129 people. French President Francois Hollande called the attacks an “act of war,” before launching airstrikes Sunday on the group’s Syrian capital in Raqqa.
The attacks reverberated loudly at the second Democratic presidential debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa this weekend. Front-runner Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and ex-Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley lowered their heads in a moment of silence to pay respect to victims of the attacks.
Clinton, fresh off a stellar performance at the first Democratic debate in Las Vegas and the 11-hour Benghazi congressional hearing, came under intense scrutiny from her rivals over her record as New York’s senator and as secretary of state.
From The New York Times:
“Let me have one area of disagreement with the secretary,” Mr. Sanders said gingerly, as if on eggshells to lob an attack at a somber moment. “I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq — something that I strongly opposed — has unraveled the region completely and led to the rise of Al Qaeda and ISIS.”
Mr. O’Malley, meanwhile, painted a dark portrait of Middle East policy under the Obama administration, in which Mrs. Clinton spent four years as secretary of state. “Libya is now a mess. Syria is a mess. Iraq is a mess. Afghanistan is a mess,” he said.
Without directly calling her opponents naïve, Mrs. Clinton responded by listing decades of granular foreign policy developments that she said contributed to the current crisis. “If we’re ever going to really tackle the problems posed by jihadi extreme terrorism, we need to understand it and realize that it has antecedents to what happened in Iraq,” she said.
Defense sources tell NBC News the U.S. has no plans to place troops on the ground in Iraq or Syria in the war against ISIS. But as part of a strategy shift, the Obama administration announced plans last month to send a small amount of U.S. special operations forces to the embattled nation.
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SOURCE: The New York Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform
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