| TALLINN, Sept 3
TALLINN, Sept 3 The United States plans to fight
Islamic State until it is no longer a force in the Middle East
and will seek justice for the killing of American journalist
Steven Sotloff, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday.
He added destroying the militant group will take time
because of the power vacuum in Syria, the abundance of battle
hardened fighters that grew out of al-Qaeda in the Iraqi war,
and the need to build coalitions, including with local Sunni
Islamic State released a video on Tuesday showing the
beheading of the U.S. journalist, the second American hostage to
be killed within weeks, in retaliation for U.S. air strikes in
"The bottom line is this, our objective is clear and that is
to degrade and destroy (Islamic State) so that it's no longer a
threat not just to Iraq but also the region and to the United
States," Obama told a news conference.
"Whatever these murderers think they will achieve with
killing innocent Americans like Steven, they have already
failed," Obama said. "They failed because, like people around
the world, Americans are repulsed by their barbarism. We will
not be intimidated."
U.S and British officials both examined the video, showing
the same British-accented executioner who appeared in an Aug. 19
video of the killing of U.S. journalist James Foley, concluding
it was authentic.
The United States resumed air strikes in Iraq in August for
the first time since the pullout of U.S. troops in 2011 and
Obama said the strikes are already proving effective.
"Those that make the mistake of harming Americans will learn
that we will not forget and that our reach is long and that
justice will be served," he said.
"This is not going to be a one-week or one-month or six
month proposition because of what's happened in the vacuum of
Syria, as well as the battle hardened elements of (Islamic
State) that grew out of Al Qaeda in Iraq during the course of
the Iraq war ... it's going to take time for us to be able to
roll them back."
The White House said late on Tuesday that Obama was sending
three top officials - Secretary of State John Kerry, Defence
Secretary Chuck Hagel and counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco -
to the Middle East "in the near-term to build a stronger
regional partnership" against Islamic State militants.
(Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)