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US names its biggest threats

Susan Rice

Susan Rice
 Susan Rice

Russian aggression in Eastern Ukraine, terrorists and hackers are among threats cited in the new national security strategy document released by the White House.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice fleshed out a 29-page report released Friday, in an appearance at the Brookings Institute, laying out the administration’s foreign policy priorities, CNN reported.

In the wake of Islamic State’s (IS) potentially dubious claims that American hostage Kayla Mueller was killed in a Jordanian air-strike, Rice denounced the militant group and reaffirmed the US’s commitment to “degrade and ultimately defeat” the Sunni radical group.

“And with the world united in condemnation of its horrific executions, IS should know that their barbarism only fortifies the world’s collective resolve,” Rice said.

With US officials warning of continued Russian aggression toward Ukraine in recent days, Rice said the US was still weighing whether to expand its military assistance to Ukraine to include lethal arms.

Rice said the administration was clear-eyed that “the challenges ahead will surely continue to be many and great”.

“One thing I can guarantee you, President (Barack) Obama is going to leave everything on the field and so will the rest of his team.”

The document repeatedly mentioned Russia’s intervention in Ukraine as a key foreign policy challenge for the administration.

As the White House is weighing whether to ship defensive military weapons to Ukraine in its battle against Russian-backed separatists, the national security strategy hints at potential new assistance for “partners” such as the government in Kiev.

In the strategy document, the IS is referred to as one of “a growing number of regionally focused and globally connected groups — many with an Al-Qaeda pedigree… which could pose a threat to the homeland”.

While an annual national security strategy report to Congress is mandated by law, this is the first such report from the White House since 2010. Former President George W. Bush also declined to provide annual strategy reports.