Obama Is Trying To Enlist A Bunch Of Countries To Hit ISIS Harder
The United States has called on several countries to join a widened assault on ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Heleme Cooper and Mark Landler The New York Times reports.Administration officials told the Times that the White House has begun enlisting "allies and neighbors in the region to increase their support for Syria's moderate opposition and, in some cases, to provide support for possible American military operations. The countries likely to be enlisted include Australia, Britain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, officials said."
Starting on August 8, U.S. warplanes and drones have been bombing ISIS, also known as Islamic state and ISIL, conducting at least 98 operations in northern Iraq. The missions initially aimed at stopping militants from reaching the Iraqi Kurdistan capital of Erbil and rescue Yazidi Christians whp had been stranded on a mountain.Ait strikes then supported the Kurdish peshmerga and Iraqi forces as they re-captured the Mosul Dam from ISIS and pushed toward Iraq's second largest city of Mosul. The Times reports that the campaign would at least extend to a larger area in northern Iraq, specifically the Iraqi Turkmen town of Amerli.
A hardline Shiite militia backed by Iran, the Badr Brigades, mobilized a large number of its fighters last week to liberate the 12,00 Turkmen, who are Turkmen, who are Shiite Muslims.
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The Times noted that the U.S. would have to get all of the coalition partners, which have different interests and therefore have supported different groups in Syria, to work together.
"One of the problems is that different countries have different clients among the fighting groups in Syria," Robert S. Ford, a former American ambassador to Syria who has been critical of the administration's policy, told the Times. "To get them all to work together, the best thing would be for them to pick one client and funnel all the funds through that client. You've got to pick one command structure."
The relatively moderate opposition, comprising the Free Syrian Army and other groups, is currently being squeezed by both Assad's troops and ISIS fighters in Syria's largest city of Aleppo, and a new ISIS offensive threatens to cut off FSA rebel supply lines to Turkey. Hussam Marie, the Free Syrian Army spokesman for northern Syria, told The New York Times that the loss of FSA positions in and around Aleppo would be "unrecoverable" and "a blow to our shared goals of a moderate Syria."
Frederic Hof, recently advocated that the president "direct an immediate and significant resupply of nationalist forces and give the assurances required to encourage the full relocation of Syria's external opposition to Syria itself."
The plan as outlined by the Times is similar to the plan advocated by senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy Mike Doran.
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