WASHINGTON - This week, the Obama administration will continue efforts to build a broad international coalition against Islamic State militants, also known as ISIL and ISIS, that have seized territory in Iraq and Syria. President Barack Obama will address the U.N. General Assembly and lead a special session of the Security Council to rally support for the campaign against the Sunni radicals.
Fighting intensified between Kurdish forces and Islamic State militants in northern Iraq, as U.S. and French warplanes delivered air strikes. Meanwhile, bombs killed dozens in Baghdad, where Shi’ites demonstrated against any redeployment of U.S. forces in Iraq.
President Obama has repeatedly ruled out U.S. ground troops in combat roles, saying Iraqis and Syrians backed by the international community will lead the charge.
“Over 40 countries have offered to help the broad campaign against ISIL so far, from training and equipment to humanitarian relief to flying combat missions. And this week at the United Nations, I will continue to rally the world against this threat,” said Obama.
America’s U.N. ambassador, Samantha Power, previewed the president’s appearance.
“President Obama will come on Wednesday and will convene a very unusual head-of-state summit on the issue of foreign terrorist fighters, to try to stop the financing to terrorists in places like Iraq and Syria, to counter violent extremism, to involve civil society in delegitimizing the messages that ISIL is putting forward,” said Power, speaking on ABC’s This Week program.
No nation has pledged to join the United States in an air campaign over Syria. But Power remains confident.
“I will make a prediction that we will not do the airstrikes alone if the president decides to do the air strikes [in Syria],” said Power.
Last week, both houses of Congress approved the training and equipping of moderate Syrian rebels. Although the measure had ample bipartisan support in both chambers, there were dissenters, among them Republican Senator Rand Paul.
“From [Saddam] Hussein to [Bashar al-] Assad to [Muammar] Gadhafi, it is the same history. Intervention topples the secular dictator. Chaos ensues and radical jihadists emerge. The pattern has been repeated time and time again. And yet what we have here is a failure to understand, a failure to reflect on the outcome of our involvement in Arab civil wars," said Paul.
Lawmakers voted before adjourning for what is expected to be an extended recess until midterm elections in November.