The United Nations General Assembly will tackle the Islamic extremism that’s rocked the Middle East and beyond, during their 69th annual meeting this week.
“Together, we will address the horrendous violence in Syria and Iraq, where conflict and governance failures have provided a breeding ground for extremist groups,” Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in a press conference last week.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—known for brutal extremism, mass killings, and civilian casualties—has not been invited to attend the meeting, but it’s clear they’ll be at the center of the discussion, just a week after President Barack Obama said he’d expand America’s military operation against ISIS inside Iraq and Syria.
“This is one of the most dangerous groups that I have seen in my time in public life,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in an exclusive interview on "Morning Joe". “Why? Because they have a radical extremist philosophy cultish attitude. It's not a religious outlook; it's a self-described cult that is evil.”
This week will be a key opportunity for the president to bolster his international coalition to oppose ISIS. The president promised a broad, international coalition when he announced the military action in early September, and Kerry said on Monday there were 50 countries on board. Kerry opened up New York City's Climate Week on Monday with an impassioned speech that linked national security threats to the global environment.
"When you think about terrorism, poverty which is linked to the levels of terror you see today and proliferation of mass destruction, all of these are challenges with no borders and that's what climate change is. Climate change ranks right up there with all of the rest of those challenges," he said.
On Wednesday, the president will address the General Assembly in an address that’s expected to center on ISIS; on the same day, he’ll head up a Security Council discussion on ISIS’ foreign fighters, a particular worry for Western countries.
The Security Council is expected to undertake a resolution that will bind all U.N. members to punish foreign recruits, recruiters, and financiers. American officials estimate that the extremist jihadist group has as many as 31,000 fighters, a third of which are foreigners, the AP reported, who likely still hold passports and easy access to their home countries.
It’s a “very rare thing” for the president to head the discussion, U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power said on Sunday.
“We have over 100 fighters there from America. They have passports. They can come back here. That's why foreign fighters is such a focus and President Obama will chair a U.N. Security Council meeting this week to deal with foreign fighters,” Kerry said on Monday.
On the morning of the first U.N. session, ISIS released a combative new audio statement. NBC News cannot verify the authenticity of this recording, but France responded to the threats saying "France is not afraid."
"Oh crusaders, you have realized the threat of the Islamic State, but you have not become aware of the cure, and you will not discover the cure because there is no cure. If you fight it, it becomes stronger and tougher. If you leave it alone, it grows and expands. If Obama has promised you with defeating the Islamic State, then Bush has also lied before him," ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed Al Adnani said in the recording, promising that Americans and Europeans will "pay the price."