Obama union address
US President Barack Obama said Pakistan, Afghanistan, Middle East and some other regions may become havens for terrorist networks. Picture: US President Barack Obama delivers his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington 12 January, 2016.Reuters

In his last State of the Union Address on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama said that the United States' foreign policy must focus on Isis and al Qaeda, who pose a "direct threat" to the country. Considering "instability will continue for decades", he emphasised that parts of Middle East, Pakistan and some other regions will need America's attention even more now.

"For even without Isis, instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world – in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in parts of Central America, Africa and Asia. Some of these places may become safe havens for new terrorist networks; others will fall victim to ethnic conflict, or famine, feeding the next wave of refugees," he said, National Public Radio reported.

"The world will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians. That may work as a TV sound bite, but it doesn't pass muster on the world stage," he added.

In such a case the US "will mobilise the world to work with us, and make sure other countries pull their own weight," Obama, whose presidency is set to end in January 2017, said. "That's our approach to conflicts like Syria, where we're partnering with local forces and leading international efforts to help that broken society pursue a lasting peace," he added.

Speaking about the Islamic State group and al Qaeda, the US President said both the terror organisations pose a direct threat to the country. 

"Both al Qaeda and now Isis pose a direct threat to our people, because in today's world, even a handful of terrorists who place no value on human life, including their own, can do a lot of damage... But they do not threaten our national existence," Obama said.

We do not want to echo the "lie that ISIL is representative of one of the world's largest religions. We just need to call them what they are – killers and fanatics who have to be rooted out, hunted down, and destroyed," Obama said.

He said that the US is doing exactly that -- destroying the "fanatics". "With nearly 10,000 air strikes, we are taking out their leadership, their oil, their training camps, and their weapons. We are training, arming, and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in Iraq and Syria," he said.

Obama asked the Congress to "authorise the use of military force against Isis" if it is "serious about winning" the war against the jihadist extremist group. He added the US will win the war anyway, with or without Congressional action.

"If you doubt America's commitment – or mine – to see that justice is done, ask Osama bin Laden. Ask the leader of al Qaeda in Yemen, who was taken out last year, or the perpetrator of the Benghazi attacks, who sits in a prison cell," he said.

"When you come after Americans, we go after you. It may take time, but we have long memories, and our reach has no limit," Obama added.

Quick Links