News / Middle East

    NATO Alliance May Join Anti-IS Coalition

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks at a news conference during a NATO defense ministers meeting at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 11, 2016.
    U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks at a news conference during a NATO defense ministers meeting at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 11, 2016.
    Carla BabbKen Bredemeier

    The NATO alliance may become a member of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Thursday.

    Carter told reporters at a meeting of more than two dozen defense ministers in Brussels that NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg was exploring the possibility.

    The addition of NATO would bring the alliance's experience in building partner capacity and training ground forces, Carter added. All of NATO's 28 member states are already in the anti-Islamic State alliance, but only in the capacity of individual nations.

    The Pentagon chief said the group provided "unanimous support" for an operational campaign plan he laid out to defeat Islamic State. The plan focuses on destroying IS in Syria and Iraq, combating its metastasis worldwide and protecting from IS infiltration at home.

    Carter said he also offered the defense ministers an opportunity to accelerate their countries' contributions, which the United States has been doing for months.

    Earlier in the day, Carter spoke privately with some officials but also publicly shamed some unnamed countries in the 66-nation coalition for doing "nothing at all."

    The Netherlands announced last month that it is expanding its role in the fighting from Iraq to Syria, while Saudi Arabia's defense minister told Carter Thursday that the country was expanding its role in the air campaign.

     

    The coalition has launched more than 10,000 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in the last year and a half in Iraq and Syria, but the U.S. by far has launched most of the attacks, 68 percent of them in Iraq and 94 percent in Syria.

    The U.S. estimates that the coalition and Iraqi forces have recaptured 40 percent of the Iraqi territory and 10 percent of Syrian lands that Islamic State had seized over the last two years.

    President Barack Obama's budget plan for the year starting in October calls for $7.5 billion to fight Islamic State, a 50 percent increase over the current year. Part of the spending calls for buying 45,000 more GPS-guided smart bombs to use against Islamic State targets.


    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Korea, Japan and Egypt.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora