Obama calls for dismantling IS 'network of death'

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Obama Addresses the UN
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Obama calls for dismantling IS 'network of death'
United States President Barack Obama attends a meeting of the United Nations Security Council regarding the threat of foreign terrorist fighters during the 69th session of the U.N. General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
President Barack Obama raises his glass in a toast with King Felipe VI of Spain, left, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, during a luncheon at the United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
United States President Barack Obama addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, leans back to talk to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, during the United Nations Security Council summit on foreign terrorists at the United Nations headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. In the back is US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama, center, speaks at the UN Security Council summit on foreign terrorist, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, at the United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama speaks at the UN Security Council summit on foreign terrorist, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, at United Nations headquarters. At left is UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama listens during a bilateral meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the United Nations headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi following their bilateral meeting at the United Nations headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
United States President Barack Obama addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the participation of five Arab nations in airstrikes against militants in Syria., Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, on the South Lawn the White House, in Washington, before heading to the United Nations. The president said the participation of five Arab nations in airstrikes against militants in Syria "makes it clear to the world this is not America's fight alone." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
CAPTION CORRECTION - TITLE UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Uganda's Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa prepare for the opening of the general debate during the 69th Session of UN General Assembly at the United Nations in New York on September 24, 2014. World leaders at the United Nations turn their attention to the US-led campaign to root out the Islamic State (IS) group. US President Barack Obama, who is seeking to mobilize international support to defeat the jihadists, is among the first leaders to address the General Assembly debate. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during the opening of the general debate of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly at the United Nations in New York on September 24, 2014. World leaders at the United Nations turn their attention to the US-led campaign to root out the Islamic State (IS) group. US President Barack Obama, who is seeking to mobilize international support to defeat the jihadists, is among the first leaders to address the General Assembly debate. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (C) arrives for the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly at the United Nations in New York on September 24, 2014. World leaders at the United Nations turn their attention to the US-led campaign to root out the Islamic State (IS) group. US President Barack Obama, who is seeking to mobilize international support to defeat the IS jihadists, is among the first leaders to address the General Assembly debate. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: U.S. President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power meet with representatives from the five Arab countries plus Iraq who have participated in air strikes against ISIS in Syria early Tuesday on September 23, 2014 in New York City. World leaders, activists and protesters have converged on New York City for the annual UN General Assembly which brings together the global leaders for a week of meetings and conferences. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: U.S. President Barack Obama and senior advisers meet with representatives from the five Arab countries plus Iraq who have participated in air strikes against ISIS in Syria early Tuesday on September 23, 2014 in New York City. World leaders, activists and protesters have converged on New York City for the annual UN General Assembly which brings together the global leaders for a week of meetings and conferences. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks at the United Nations Climate Summit 2014 September 23, 2014 at the United Nations in New York. AFP PHOTO/Don Emmert (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
In this image provided by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) launches a Tomahawk cruise missile as seen from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. Syria said Tuesday that Washington informed President Bashar Assad's government of imminent U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group, hours before an American-led military coalition pounded the extremists' strongholds across northern and eastern Syria. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Garst)
In this image provided by the U.S. Navy, a F/A-18E Super Hornet attached to the Tomcatters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 lands aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush after conducting strike missions Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, against Islamic State group targets in Syria. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Spc. 3rd Class Brian Stephens)
This image provided by the Department of Defense shows a image that was shown by Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville, Jr., Director of Operations J3, during a briefing on operations in Syria, at the Pentagon in Washington on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Department of Defense)
This image provided by the Department of Defense shows a image that was shown by Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville, Jr., Director of Operations J3, during a briefing on operations in Syria, at the Pentagon in Washington on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Department of Defense)
This image provided by the Department of Defense shows a image that was shown by Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville, Jr., Director of Operations J3, during a briefing on operations in Syria, at the Pentagon in Washington on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Department of Defense)
Smoke from a burning fuel dump at the Donetsk airport can be seen from a pro-Russia separatist checkpoint on September 23, 2014. The airport, occupied by the Ukrainian army was hit by overnight shelling from rebel positions. The prime minister of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk said on September 23 that rebels have removed artillery from frontline areas where Ukraine had also withdrawn, in line with a peace plan signed on September 20. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 24: President of USA Barack Obama (R) talks with Foreign Minister of USA John Kerry (L) during 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York, USA, on September 24, 2014. (Photo by Press Office of Turkish Presidency - Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama chairs a UN Security Council summit meeting on foreign terrorist fighters during the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations in New York, September 24, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks alongside Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (C) and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (L), during a meeting of the Open Government Partnership during the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations in New York, September 24, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama chairs a UN Security Council summit meeting on foreign terrorist fighters during the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations in New York, September 24, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
United StatesPresident Barack Obama attends a meeting of the United Nations Security Council regarding the threat of foreign terrorist fighters during the 69th session of the U.N. General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, speaks during a meeting of the Open Government Partnership at the United Nations headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. Seated on stage with Obama are Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, center, and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, left. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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By JULIE PACE & JOSH LEDERMAN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Confronted by the growing threat of Middle East militants, President Barack Obama implored world leaders at the United Nations Wednesday to rally behind his expanding military campaign to stamp out the violent Islamic State group and its "network of death."

"There can be no reasoning, no negotiation, with this brand of evil," Obama told the General Assembly. In a striking shift for a president who has been reluctant to take military action in the past, Obama declared that force is the only language the militants understand. He warned those who have joined their cause to "leave the battlefield while they can."

The widening war against the Islamic State was just one in a cascade of crises that confronted the presidents, prime ministers and monarchs at the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. Also vying for attention was Russia's continued provocations in Ukraine, a deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and the plight of civilians caught in conflicts around the world.

"Not since the end of the Second World War have there been so many refugees, displaced people and asylum seekers," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as he opened Wednesday's session.

In a rare move, Obama also chaired a meeting of the U.N. Security Council where members unanimously adopted a resolution requiring all countries to prevent the recruitment and transport of would-be foreign fighters preparing to join terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State group.

The American-led military campaign in the Middle East was at the center of much of the day's discussions. After weeks of airstrikes in Iraq, U.S. planes began hitting targets in Syria this week, joined by an unexpected coalition of five Arab nations: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. There were more U.S. strikes Wednesday on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border.

France has also taken part in strikes in Iraq, and British Prime Minister David Cameron's office announced that Parliament was being recalled to London to debate whether to join the campaign, too.

The Islamic State has made lightning gains in Iraq this year and now moves freely across the increasingly blurred border with Syria. The group has claimed responsibility for the beheading of two American journalists and a British aid worker, sparking outrage in the West and contributing to an increase in public support for military action.

Shortly after Obama's remarks, France confirmed that Algerian extremists allied with the Islamic State group had beheaded one of its citizens after the French ignored demands to stop airstrikes in Iraq. French President Francois Hollande, who was in New York for the U.N. meetings, said the killing underscored why "the fight the international community needs to wage versus terrorism knows no borders."

U.S. officials say they are concerned that foreigners with Western passports could return to their home countries to carry out attacks. And even as Obama welcomed support for the resolution to deter foreign fighters, he said more must be done.

"The words spoken here today must be matched and translated into action," he said.

The threat from the Islamic State group has already drawn Obama back into conflicts in the Middle East that he has long sought to avoid, particularly in Syria, which is mired in a bloody three-year civil war. Just months ago, the president appeared to be on track to fulfill his pledge to end the U.S.-led wars he inherited in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama sought to distinguish this current military campaign from those lengthy wars, declaring that he has no intention of sending U.S. troops to occupy foreign lands. He also pressed Middle Eastern nations to look beyond military action and take steps to reject the ideology that has spawned groups like the Islamic State and to cut off funding that has allowed that terror group and others to thrive.

"No external power can bring about a transformation of hearts and minds," Obama said in his nearly 40-minute address.

Apart from the Middle East, the president was particularly blunt in his condemnation of Russia's actions in Ukraine. He accused Moscow of sending arms to pro-Russian separatists, refusing to allow access to the site of a downed civilian airliner and then moving its own troops across the border with Ukraine.

Still, Obama held open the prospect of a resolution to the conflict. While he has previously expressed skepticism about a cease-fire signed this month, he said Wednesday that the agreement "offers an opening" for peace.

If Russia follows through, Obama said, the U.S. will lift economic sanctions that have damaged Russia's economy but so far failed to shift President Vladimir Putin's approach.

The chaotic global landscape Obama described Wednesday stood in contrast to his remarks at the U.N. one year ago, when he touted diplomatic openings on multiple fronts. At the time, the U.S. was embarking on a fresh attempt to forge an elusive peace between Israelis and Palestinians and there were signs of a thaw in the decades-old tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

The Mideast talks have since collapsed, though the president said that "as bleak as the landscape appears, America will never give up the pursuit of peace." And while the U.S., Iran and world powers are now in the midst of nuclear negotiations, those talks are deadlocked and there is skepticism about whether a deal can be reached by a Nov. 24 deadline.

"My message to Iran's leaders and people is simple: Do not let this opportunity pass," Obama said.

Even as the president cast the U.S. as the main driver of peace and security around the world, he acknowledged that his country has not always lived up to its own ideals. He singled out the recent clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, that followed the shooting death of a black teenager.

"Yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions," Obama said. "But we welcome the scrutiny of the world. Because what you see in America is a country that has steadily worked to address our problems and make our union more perfect."

Obama Calls for Dismantling Islamic State 'Network of Death'

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