2nd beheading: Obama vows to destroy IS
BRITAIN joined the United States on the frontline against the Islamic State (IS) yesterday, even as US President Barack Obama vowed that America would not be intimidated by the beheading of a second American reporter.
The British government said it would not rule out taking part in air strikes if necessary after a British hostage's life was threatened in a gruesome video.
Speaking after an emergency meeting called following the release of the video, British Prime Minister David Cameron declared: "A country like ours will not be cowed. We will not waver in our aim of defeating terrorism."
In a video showing the severed head of 31-year-old Steven Sotloff, a masked militant warned that a British man, widely identified as David Cawthorne Haines, would be killed in response to US air strikes against militants in Iraq.
The militant spoke English with a British accent similar to that of the alleged killer of journalist James Foley in a video released by IS extremists last month.
"I'm back, Obama," a masked fighter said in the latest video, obtained by the Site Intelligence Group, which tracks jihadist activity.
"I'm back because of your arrogant foreign policy toward the Islamic State, because of your insistence on continuing your bombings."
Yesterday, Mr Obama condemned the "horrible act of violence" and warned: "Those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget. Our reach is long and justice will be served."
At a press conference in Tallinn, Estonia, where he reassured Baltic allies of the US' commitment to defend them from a newly aggressive Russia, Mr Obama vowed to "destroy" the IS.
However, he warned that this would take time because of the power vacuum in Syria, the abundance of battle-hardened fighters that had grown out of Al-Qaeda in the Iraq war, and the need to build coalitions, including with local Sunni communities.
US lawmakers responded to the video by urging Mr Obama to step up efforts to forge a broad coalition of nations that would take on IS in both Iraq and Syria.
But some Obama administration officials have said they are wary of expanding the US' direct military role. Doing so risks assisting the extremists' efforts to portray the conflict as part of a centuries-old war against Islam by Christians and Jews, warned the officials, who declined to be named.
Additional US troops are being sent to Iraq, where a militant offensive has seized major towns since early June, "to protect our diplomatic facilities and personnel" in Baghdad, which will take the total providing such security to about 820, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.
Mr Sotloff, who was from Miami, worked as a journalist in Libya and spoke fluent Arabic. He was kidnapped near Aleppo, Syria, on Aug 4 last year. He had reported for publications including Time magazine and the Christian Science Monitor.
Nancy Gibbs, Time's editor, said in a statement on the magazine's website that Mr Sotloff "gave his life so readers would have access to information from some of the most dangerous places in the world".
AFP, BLOOMBERG, NYT