Rubio: ISIS will not rest after taking Erbil
By Jesse Byrnes - 08/08/14 03:33 PM EDT
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Friday that Islamic militants in Iraq will not halt their march if they take Iraq’s capital.
Rubio, who sits on the Senate's Foreign Relations and Select Intelligence Committees, argued the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria will continue to move forward to threaten U.S. interests unless it is stopped.
ISIS “will not rest once it has taken Erbil or Baghdad,” Rubio wrote in an op-ed for TIME. Erbil is the Kurdish regional capital in Iraq.
“Its expansionist ideology will lead it to attack U.S. allies in the region and eventually Europe and the United States,” Rubio added.
The United States launched air strikes against ISIS positions near Erbil on Friday, and has said more strikes will come to defend refugees and U.S. officials in that city. President Obama has also said strikes could be launched near Baghdad to protect that city.
Obama, who campaigned on withdrawing from Iraq, ruled out sending in U.S. combat troops and has focused on supporting Iraqi security forces.
In a statement after the president's initial announcement, Rubio said he has been urging Obama “since June to conduct airstrikes against [ISIS] targets and to provide additional lethal assistance and other support to the Iraqi government.”
White House officials have pushed back at arguments that the U.S. waited too long to act.
“What [Kurdish forces battling ISIS] need is additional arms, and we're providing those,” deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said in an interview on MSNBC.
“Frankly there's not a U.S. military solution that can be imposed on Iraq,” Rhodes said.