November 13th, 2015

#FZGPS Preview: Secretary of State John Kerry on U.S. strategy against ISIS

On Sunday, Nov. 15, CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS will feature an exclusive interview with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the next steps for the U.S. response to the crisis in Syria and Iraq, whether there is still hope for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, if Iran’s actions towards the West have improved since the P5+1 nuclear deal, and what to expect from next week’s global conference on climate change.

Below is an excerpt from this exclusive interview which took place in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the U.S. State Department on Thursday.

This interview will air in its entirety on November 15, 2015 at 10am &1pm ET on CNN/U.S.

MANDATORY CREDIT for reference and usage: “CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS”


John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State: I mean there is a concerted strategy here, Fareed.  You know, I keep hearing people say well, what’s the strategy, what’s the strategy? The strategy is clear. 

President Obama, at the very beginning, said we’re going to degrade and defeat ISIL.  We’re going to stabilize the countries in the region — Jordan, Lebanon, work with Turkey — and we are going to seek a political settlement.

That is exactly the strategy today and it is working, to a degree, not as fast as we would like, perhaps, but we are making gains.  We have liberated major communities. About 75 percent of the border between northern Syria and Turkey has been secured.  You have another piece where we are engaging in an operation with the Turks to secure the final piece west of the Euphrates River. 

There is pressure being put on Raqqa.  There are major disruptions to the, uh, leadership, the command and control of ISIL.  Their territory has been shrunk by some 17,000 square kilometers.

There is a difference in the way they have to operate as a result of our operations.  And I believe that when you combine what is happening in Iraq with what is happening in Syria, uh, there’s an enormous amount of pressure that is continually being ramped up with respect to ISIL. 

Now, ultimately, we want more forces on the ground to be able to — not ours.  They’re going to have to be people on the ground.