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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (1)
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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid