Speed Reads


Obama chairs U.N. Security Council, gains approval of resolution to curb terrorist travel and recruitment

On Wednesday, President Obama personally chaired a rare high-level meeting of the United Nations Security Council dedicated to the threat of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other terrorist organizations. The council voted, 15 to 0, to approve a binding U.S.-proposed resolution compelling states to try to block their citizens and foreigners from going to fight with terrorist militias, specifically mentioning ISIS, the al-Nusra faction, and "other groups associated with al Qaeda."

"The tactic of terrorism is not new," Obama told the council. "What brings us together today, what is new, is the unprecedented flow of fighters in recent years to and from conflict zones." And joint action is necessary to tackle this risk, he added, because "if there was ever a challenge in our interconnected world that cannot be met by one nation alone, it is this." Foreign terrorist fighter prolong and escalate armed conflicts, and threaten their countries of origins if they return home, the resolution says.

The measure, Resolution 2178, "requires countries to prevent and suppress recruiting, organizing, transporting, and equipping" foreign terrorist, as well as financing for their travel and activities. Countries are told to prevent suspected terrorists from entering or passing through their countries, urged to increase cooperation through sharing information on terrorism suspects, and counseled to undermine violent extremism in their own countries and those they interact with abroad.

The resolution, passed under the Security Council's authority in Chapter 7 of its charter, is legally binding on member nations. But it will be difficult to enforce, and no enforcement mechanism was included in the resolution. Obama is the first U.S. president to chair the U.N. Security Council, though this is the second time he has done so.