Secretary of State John Kerry plans to ignore Thursday’s congressionally-imposed deadline to officially decide if Islamic State is committing genocide against Christians and other religious groups.
The news was absolutely baffling to GOP Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, who doesn’t understand why the Department of State is failing to acknowledge the obvious, given that numerous international organizations and prominent personalities have confirmed the atrocities.
“This is heartbreaking. There has been ample time for analysis,” Fortenberry said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The evidence of ISIS genocide against Christians, Yezidis, and others is horrifyingly clear. The House of Representatives has voted unanimously that this is genocide. There is a growing international consensus. I cannot understand the hesitation by the State Department.”
Fortenberry forwarded a resolution in the House in September, 2015, acknowledging ISIS is, in fact, genociding Christians in Iraq and Syria. The historic non-binding resolution passed unanimously Monday, yet the State Department intends to completely blow past the congressionally mandated deadline set to make a determination on genocide.
According to State Department spokesman Mark Toner, Kerry wants to take a “measured” approach, though it is unclear what that means. Toner addedKerry will come to a conclusion on the matter soon, but not Thursday.
“He recognizes the seriousness of the atrocities committed by this terrorist group as well as the importance of this issue to its victims and survivors,” Toner said, according to The Associated Press. “Given the scope and the breadth of the analysis he’s contemplating, he will not have a final decision completed by the congressionally-mandated deadline tomorrow. However, this issue is clearly of the utmost importance to him as well as Congress, and we expect him to reach a decision very soon.”
If the Obama administration concludes genocide is at play, it will mark the second time the U.S. has made such a declaration in the middle of a conflict.
The last time was in 2004 in response to ongoing genocide in Darfur, when then-Secretary of State Colin Powell made the determination after realizing it wouldn’t necessarily legally obligate the U.S. to commit any resources to put a stop to it.
Toner repeated the same sort of stance Wednesday, stating a determination “would not necessarily result in any particular legal obligation for the United States.”
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