Fresh off a biking accident that left him with a broken femur, Secretary of State John Kerry told allies in the fight against ISIS that the terrorist organization is “no more a state than I am a helicopter.”
Speaking via telephone to the summit he was scheduled to attend before his bike accident scrubbed those plans, Kerry forcefully pushed back against any notion that ISIS is a state, despite the group’s broad territorial gains.
Kerry spoke about the need to “maintain momentum in the battle of ideas,” according to excerpts from the call provided by the State Department.
“One way is to expose at every opportunity the false nature of Daesh’s claim to be the Islamic State. In reality, Daesh is no more a state than I am a helicopter,” Kerry said, using another name for ISIS widely used by European and Arab allies that is despised by the terrorist group.
“No one anywhere should be deceived into calling it a state, or – far worse – traveling to the territory occupied by Daesh under the delusion that they are somehow serving their faith,” Kerry added.
ISIS has captured broad swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq, most recently claiming the key city of Ramadi, just 70 miles from Baghdad.
The group also now controls the border between Iraq and Syria and has made significant gains not just against Iraqi forces in the northwestern part of that country, but also against the Syrian regime across the border.
While not recognized as a state, ISIS does now rule over millions of people now, reportedly supporting the populations under its rule with social services like education and police forces. It funds those efforts through its sale of vast oil resources under its control as well as through kidnapping ransoms and selling ancient artifacts at historic sites under its control.