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Washington Targets IS in Mideast Military, Diplomatic Talks


FILE - U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, pictured at a Paris news conference in January, is in Abu Dhabi, a stop on a Mideast tour that will focus on the fight against Islamic State.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter compared the Islamic State group to cancer on Saturday, saying the insurgent group must be destroyed in Iraq and Syria because that is “where the whole thing arose.”

He spoke during a visit to the United Arab Emirates, part of an effort to get Gulf nations to help Iraq as it fights the Islamic State. He said it would be vital to have a capable local force in place once IS was defeated to be sure someone “keeps them defeated.”

Carter toured Al-Dhafra Air Base, where he was briefed by key U.S. military and diplomatic officials. The U.S.-led coalition has used the base to launch airstrikes against IS militants, as well as for intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance missions.

This Middle East portion of a lengthy diplomatic trip by Carter will include talks with Gulf Cooperation Council defense leaders in Saudi Arabia.

President Barack Obama, who is to join Carter in Riyadh, will most likely ask for contributions to rebuild areas of Iraq damaged by the fight against IS when he speaks with Gulf partners. “That’s a global effort in which many countries can make a contribution,” Carter said.

The secretary also plans to talk with GCC leaders about how to fight IS more effectively. “We’re going to accelerate the military campaign” he said.