Saturday, September 13, 2014

DTN News - ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND SYRIA (ISIS): Arab Allies Pledge To Help U.S. Fight Islamic State

DTN News - ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND SYRIA (ISIS): Arab Allies Pledge To Help U.S. Fight Islamic State
*Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS
*Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ISIL
*Extent of Cooperation in Military Operations Still Unclear
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources Reuters
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - September 13, 2014A day after President Barack Obama outlined a strategy to combat Islamic State militants, Washington's international allies didn't make clear how far they would go to join military operations even as they pledged their support.

Mr. Obama vowed to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the extremist group which has grabbed territory across Iraq and Syria and harbors ambitions for more. After a day of consulting with Secretary of State John Kerry in Saudi Arabia, most of Iraq's neighbors signed onto a statement of support.

In the communiqué, leading Arab states committed to working with the U.S. to cut off the flow of foreign fighters and funds into the Islamic State,

Turkey—which has opposed allowing the U.S. to use bases on its territory for airstrikes against Islamic State—didn't sign the communiqué. Nearly 50 Turkish diplomats are being held by militants in the Iraqi city of Mosul, which Islamic State captured in June.

In Europe, Germany said it wouldn't take part in airstrikes, while the U.K. said it wasn't ruling out participation. Several dozen European and other countries agreed during this month's North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Wales to support the campaign, but as of Thursday, many were still weighing the specific nature of their involvement.

At the core of the emerging alliance, said U.S. and Arab officials, is an agreement with the Saudi government for it to host a training facility for thousands of Syrian rebel fighters who are combating both the Islamic State and President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Administration officials said Wednesday the deal was in place, but said late Thursday talks were still ongoing.

American air attacks alone won't be enough to stop ISIS according to Daniel Serwer of John Hopkins University. He joins the News Hub to discuss. Photo: Islamic State

Among other uncertainties, U.S. and Arab officials said discussions about Mideast governments providing basing and overflight rights to American warplanes are ongoing. Also unclear is whether any of the leading Arab states would join in U.S. airstrikes against militants in Iraq and Syria. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates joined in the 2011 air campaign in Libya that helped overthrow strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

Adding urgency to the effort, the Central Intelligence Agency in a new estimate Thursday said the size of the militant group at least doubled over the summer. Islamic State "can muster" between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters, said agency spokesman Todd Ebitz, citing a new review of intelligence reports from May through August.

In the agreement reached in Saudi Arabia, countries said they would participate in military efforts "as appropriate," which U.S. officials defended, saying it was reasonable to allow countries to decide on the extent of their participation.

"It was important; we made progress; the coalition is growing and now it has a clarity of purpose with the region, which is essential to our possibilities of success," Mr. Kerry told reporters in Jeddah.

In the cases of Turkey, European and Middle Eastern allies, U.S. officials said there was time to allow for "a deliberate, prudent process."

"'What role can you play? What are we all going to do together?'" State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, describing the nature of the discussions. "That process will be ongoing."

The U.S. military began a laborious process of gearing up for military training operations following new instructions Wednesday from Mr. Obama, preparing for expanded airstrikes in Iraq and the start of a first-ever air campaign in Syria. Officials said some components of the plan could take several months to come together.

Part of the military training operations will depend on congressional action to approve a $500 million funding request from the Obama administration. The request faced procedural and political obstacles on Thursday.

Overall, the process reflected the difficulty of forming a new international coalition to confront a growing regional threat.

In the communiqué signed by Arabic countries, officials pledged to curb the promotion of the Islamic State's radical Islamist ideology through their religious centers, media outlets and social media sites.

"There is no limit to what the kingdom can provide in this regard," Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said following the meeting with Mr. Kerry in Jeddah. "The kingdom is determined to face and overcome this scourge."

Mr. Kerry said he would continue his efforts to enlist Mideast support for the U.S. campaign during stops in Turkey, Egypt and France in the coming days.

U.S. officials also said the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this month will be a key venue to promote Washington's operations against Islamic State.

Russian and Syrian officials on Thursday indicated they would challenge Washington's strategy.

Russian officials said the Obama administration would need to get a U.N. Security Council resolution to launch military strikes inside Syria against the Islamic State. Syrian officials said they supported military operations against the terrorist organization but only if they are coordinated with Mr. Assad and his military leaders.

"There should be no mistakes," Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad, told NBC News on Thursday. "Betting on other forces is a very big mistake."

Mr. Kerry at a news conference brushed off the Kremlin's suggestion that U.S. military action in Syria would violate international law.

"I'm really rather surprised that Russia would dare to assert any notion of international law, after what has happened in Crimea and eastern Ukraine," he said.

For many Arabic governments, a request to commit forces is considered likely to be met with deep reservations, said Alaa Batayneh, a member of Jordan's Senate who served as the country's energy minister until last year.

"Having boots on the ground is a red flag for many countries, and Jordan is one of them," Mr. Batayneh said.

For Saudi Arabia, in particular, the stakes are high in the campaign against Islamic State, which has vowed carry its fight to the kingdom's monarchy. But as one of the leading Sunni Muslim states, Saudi Arabia is hesitant to commit its troops to a war against fellow Sunni Muslims, however extreme they might be, for fear it would generate a domestic backlash.

"The Saudis need to respond and fight. The knife is on their necks, and they can't rely on the U.S. fighting the fight for them anymore," said a Lebanese security official familiar with the discussions over Arab troop deployments.

The Lebanese army has been fighting Islamic State since the militants streamed across the border last month.

While Saudi Arabia has funded and armed Syrian rebels, the training operation would be a new step in its commitment to bring down Mr. Assad's regime, said Jamal Khashoggi, an analyst close to the government.

"When you open training camps for groups that fight another government, that's a declaration of war" with potentially deep repercussions, Mr. Khashoggi said.

—Carol E. Lee, Ahmed Al Omran, Mohammed Alakraa and Jeffrey Sparshott contributed to this article.

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*Link for This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources Reuters
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*Photograph: IPF (International Pool of Friends) + DTN News / otherwise source stated
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

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