News / Middle East

US Looking for Broader Coalition to Combat Islamic State

US Looking for Broader Coalition to Combat Islamic Statei
X
Scott Stearns
September 04, 2014 1:03 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is leading diplomatic efforts to build an international coalition against Islamic State militants responsible for killing civilians across Syria and Iraq. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what that coalition might look like.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is leading diplomatic efforts to build an international coalition against Islamic State militants responsible for killing civilians across Syria and Iraq.

Washington is working to push beyond airstrikes against Islamic State fighters in Iraq to a broader coalition against the Syria-based militants.

Speaking in Estonia on his way to a NATO summit in Wales, President Obama said a coalition to take on Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is complicated by the power vacuum in Syria.

"It is going to take time for us to be able to form the regional coalition that is going to be required so we can reach out to Sunni tribes in some of the areas that ISIS is occupying.  And to make sure that we have allies on the ground, in combination with the air strikes we have already conducted. So, the bottom line is this - our objective is clear and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL so it is no longer a threat," said Obama.

Such a coalition will include partners contributing in a variety of ways, says analyst Nora Bensahel of the Center for a New American Security.

"The United States is working very hard right now to try to build a coalition of countries that has like-minded interests about ISIS, to try to strengthen diplomatic efforts against the group, potentially economic efforts, financial sanctions and other things, sharing of intelligence, I'm sure, and potentially even bringing some of those states into a coalition to conduct airstrikes," said Bensahel.

All of which, added she, must be coordinated with Iraqi forces confronting ISIS on the ground.

"Ultimately the only forces that are going to be able to roll back ISIS in any time frame are local forces, and that's why you're seeing efforts to train and advise. That's what the United States is doing," said Bensahel.

Those Iraqi forces will answer to a new government in Baghdad that is backed by Iran, which also opposes the Islamic State.

But Tehran and Washington sharing a common enemy could complicate a broader coalition, said former U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker.

"We’re at an extremely delicate time throughout the region as the Iraqis struggle to form a government that needs to be inclusive enough that it will bring Sunnis back into the process….  I think any overt cooperation between Iran and the United States could create far more problems than it solves," said Crocker.

An active role for Iran also may unsettle Saudi Arabia and Egypt, both important members of a coalition against the Islamic State, says American University professor Akbar Ahmed, especially as Washington needs more than military might.

"The atrocious behavior, the beheadings, the treatment of minorities, the treatment of Christians and so on - this has to be effectively checked.  But if the United States thinks it can be checked simply by dropping a couple of bombs and using some missiles, I don't think that's going to happen," said Ahmed.

He added that the Obama administration must be careful not to make the same mistakes that he says the United States made in the war against Saddam Hussein, leading to disaffected Iraqi Sunni militants who helped found the Islamic State.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: alfredo ibarra barajas from: México
September 05, 2014 1:06 PM
This is all a legacy of Mr.Bush Jr. and his henchmen, who should be judged, for all the mess they left behind. It is high time for all those in the most powerful country on earth, who were the main causative agents of all the ills in Irak, to confront Justice, because that evil left behind, is now spreading to other countries. I remember that Mr. Bush Jr. called pompously to certain countries, in his muddled logic "The Axis of Evil".

As of today Mr. Obama is trying, using all his intelligence and sanity, to fix that mess, which looks pretty much unsolvable, while those who caused it are comfortably living, feeling immune from justice. Mr. Obama has done well, in my opinion, not to intervene in Syria, and he did well not to intervene in Libya, or only lightly, and I think, he should not intervene in Ukraine. That is a EU's problem, the problem of communism does not exist any longer, it is only a mirage; he should give them moral support, that is all. The sanctions that he has applied so far are going to dent Russia's economy sooner or later, because nowadays Russia is a capitalist country, and the sanctions hurt. But I think he should apply more.

This is a time for improbable alliances. I think China should not be only looking on the sidelines. China should get involved along with the USA, to try to isolate Russia, and not to try to profit from the mess in Ukraine, which is what Russia is doing by shifting its gas sales from Europe to Mongolia and China.

Mr. Obama should work more closely with his rich Arab allies, as his former predecessors, Mssrs Regan, Bush Sr. and Clinton did, maybe they have some ideas to contain IS. But Mr. Obama, a champion of peace and justice will not be here forever. Let us hope that the Democratic Party chooses well for the next elections, because this mess is going to take long to be fixed. Another Mr. Clinton perhaps? and let us hope that in the midterm elections, which are fast approaching, the American voters are not bamboozled by politicians trying to pass pyrite for gold, and vote well. Remember Mr. Clinton's famous phrase, "It is the economy ,stupid".

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid