Defense Secretary Ash Carter, top center, hosts the Global Coalition to Counter IS Meeting at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C., July 20, 2016.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter, top center, hosts the Global Coalition to Counter IS Meeting at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C., July 20, 2016.

The Global Coalition to Counter Islamic State was formed in September 2014 with the expressed aim of degrading and defeating Islamic State.

The threat:

According to the U.S. State Department, IS presents a global terrorist threat. It has recruited thousands of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria from around the globe and has leveraged technology to spread its violent extremist ideology and to incite terrorist acts.

The coalition:

The coalition consists of 68 nations. Russia, China and Iran are not members, but Russia and Iran are independently fighting IS militants in Syria.

Some members of the coalition, including Britain, Australia, France and a handful of regional powers, have helped launch airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, while others have cracked down on the flow of funds and foreign fighters to IS. Still others have contributed humanitarian aid, taken in refugees, or provided weapons and trained fighters on the ground.

The mission:

In its aim to defeat Islamic State, the coalition employs a mutually reinforcing five-pronged approach: conducting a military campaign in Iraq and Syria, impeding the flow of foreign fighters, stopping financing and funding of the jihadists, addressing humanitarian crises in the region, and exposing the group's false religious narrative.

— By launching counterterrorist strikes and advising and assisting Iraqi government forces and Syrian opposition groups, the coalition has helped local partners push IS out of 62 percent of populated territory it once controlled in Iraq and 30 percent of the populated territory it once controlled in Syria.

— The coalition is working to implement the obligations and recommendations set forth in a U.N. Security Council resolution passed in 2014. This resolution requires countries to take steps to counter foreign terrorist fighters, expanding current obligations under international law and strengthening international measures that prevent suspected foreign terrorist fighters from traveling, disrupt financial support to foreign terrorist fighters, and strengthen international and regional co-operation mechanisms.

— The coalition partners have taken steps to ensure that Islamic State is unable to use the international financial system through sanctions of the group's leaders, facilitators and financiers. Militarily, the coalition's airstrikes against IS-controlled oil fields, infrastructure and transportation assets are disrupting the militia's ability to produce, refine and sell oil, a primary source of revenue for the group.

— The U.S. State Department insists that international contributions are not solely or even primarily military contributions. Humanitarian assistance to those affected by the conflict is equally important to meeting urgent needs and maintaining regional stability. With the needs of vulnerable civilians continuing to grow, additional contributions from the international community are necessary in order to address the greatest needs: shelter, food, water, medicine and education.

— The Coalition's Counter-Messaging Working Group is led by the United Arab Emirates, Britain and the United States. The State Department believes that any long-term strategy to counter violent extremism cannot focus solely on military action. This is why the UAE-based Sawab Center was established to counter IS communications and recruitment by increasing the volume and intensity of online debate representing moderate, tolerant and positive approaches in the region.

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