John Kerry: ‘We are on the road’ to defeating IS

Dylan Stableford
Kerry listens to a speech by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Munich, Feb. 8, 2015. (AP/Matthias Schrader)

Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S.-led coalition is “on the road” to degrading and destroying the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria.

“I believe we are on the road to [degrading and destroying IS],” Kerry said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in an interview that aired Sunday. “Yes, I absolutely do.”

The coalition, Kerry said, has regained more than 20 percent of territory that had been under IS control and killed “a significant proportion” of its top leadership.

“We believe everything — including the governing process in Iraq itself — is moving in the right direction,” the secretary said.

Kerry’s comments come following airstrikes launched by Jordan against the militant group last week after an IS video showed one of its captured pilots being burned alive in a cage.

“The coalition is strong, more committed than ever, particularly in the aftermath of the burning of the Jordanian pilot,” Kerry said.

Retired Gen. John Allen, special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter IS, said on ABC’s “This Week” that the pilot’s killing “galvanized the coalition.”

Kerry also reiterated the administration’s position that the United States is not willing to put “boots on the ground” in its fight against IS, relying on ground troops from Iraq and other members of the coalition instead.

Also Sunday, Kerry denied there were any divisions between the United States and its European allies over how to handle Russia and the crisis in Ukraine.

“There is no division, there is no split,” Kerry said at a security conference in Munich. “We all agree that this challenge will not end through military force. ... We are united in our diplomacy.”

On “Meet the Press,” Kerry said he had “no doubt” the United States and its allies would offer additional assistance to Ukraine, but declined to offer specifics.

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