Thursday, September 11, 2014

Obama orders US airstrikes in Syria against ISIS/ISIL

President Barack Obama committed the United States on Wednesday to a broad military campaign to root out militants in two volatile Middle East nations, authorising airstrikes in both Syria and Iraq that could last well after his presidency.

Obama said he had authorised US airstrikes for the first time in Syria and more attacks in Iraq in a broad escalation of a campaign against the Islamic State militant group.

Obama’s decision to launch attacks inside Syria, which is embroiled in a three-year civil war, showed the seriousness of the threat American officials see from Islamic State, which is also know as ISIS and ISIL. A year ago, the president shied away from airstrikes against Syria’s government for its use of chemical weapons against Syrians.

Obama laid out his emerging plan for tackling the group in a widely anticipated White House speech, two weeks after coming under fire for saying: “We don’t have a strategy yet” in fighting IS militants in Syria and six months after declaring that groups like Islamic State were minor players.

“Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy,” Obama said, avoiding the use of Islamic State, which suggests that the group has succeeded in carving out a caliphate in the Middle East.

He said he would hunt down Islamic State militants “wherever they are”.

“That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven,” he said.

He said he would expand the list of targets inside Iraq beyond several isolated areas. He will send 475 more American advisers to help Iraqi forces, joining more than 1,000 already there. Obama reiterated than those troops will not engage in combat.

A ‘different’ war

In a significant move that could help rally Gulf Arab states behind the US-led coalition, key ally Saudi Arabia will host inside its territory a US training effort for Syrian rebels, senior US officials said. The effort is dependent on the US Congress approving $500 million to train and arm the rebels.

The Saudi decision emerged after Obama spoke by phone earlier in the day with Saudi King Abdullah, who has pressed the American government to do more resolve the Syrian conflict.

Obama has staked much of his foreign policy record on having extracted US forces from Iraq after running for president in 2008 on a pledge to end what he felt was an unnecessary conflict (which he once described as “a dumb war”) launched by his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.

Obama’s move to deepen US involvement in Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State group follows opinion polls that show Americans feel the president has been too cautious in tackling the group. Three quarters of Americans said they supported US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria in a CNN/ORC poll published on Wednesday. The most drastic of tack has come from Tea Party supporters, which had initially rallied against military intervention.

Obama has struggled with a host of foreign policy crises this year, bringing his overall public approval record down to near record lows of about 40 percent.

Obama vowed he would not send large numbers of US combat forces to the region but would rely instead on assistance from a broad coalition involving Sunni-led governments in the region and Western allies.

US officials want allies to join in attacks on the group as well as in training and equipping Iraqi forces and Syrian rebels, providing humanitarian relief and intelligence.

Excluding Assad

What specifically each nation will do in the coalition remains to be hammered out. Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting Gulf allies in the region and Obama is to host a leaders’ security conference at the UN General Assembly in two weeks with the aim of fleshing out duties of the coalition.

Before the focus on the IS threat, Obama for months had been cool to the notion of arming the poorly organised Syrian rebels, fearing weapons provided to them could end up in the wrong hands.

But he now needs the rebels to become strong enough to hold ground cleared by US airstrikes, just as Iraqi forces are doing in Iraq.

US officials pushed back hard against the notion that striking IS strongholds in Syria would unintentionally help President Bashar al-Assad. They said the Sunni-majority areas in the eastern part of the country the militants hold are not places where Assad loyalists would be able to take advantage to regain control.

Islamic State militants controls broad areas in Iraq and Syria and uses savage methods that have included the beheading of many prisoners, including two Americans.

“This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground,” Obama said.



  • Statement by the President on ISIL (The White House)
Office of the Press Secretary,  September 10, 2014:
State Floor
9:01 P.M. EDT
"My fellow Americans, tonight I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.
As Commander-in-Chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people.  Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country.  We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  We’ve targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia.  We’ve done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year.  Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer. 
Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat.  We can’t erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm.  That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today.  And that’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge.  At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain.  And one of those groups is ISIL -- which calls itself the “Islamic State.”
Now let’s make two things clear:  ISIL is not “Islamic.”  No religion condones the killing of innocents.  And the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.  And ISIL is certainly not a state.  It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border.  It is recognized by no government, nor by the people it subjugates.  ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple.  And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.
In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality.  They execute captured prisoners.  They kill children.  They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage.  They threatened a religious minority with genocide.  And in acts of barbarism, they took the lives of two American journalists -- Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.
So ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East -- including American citizens, personnel and facilities.  If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region, including to the United States.  While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies.  Our Intelligence Community believes that thousands of foreigners -– including Europeans and some Americans –- have joined them in Syria and Iraq.  Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks.
I know many Americans are concerned about these threats.  Tonight, I want you to know that the United States of America is meeting them with strength and resolve.  Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances.  Since then, we’ve conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq.  These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory.  These strikes have also helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children. 
But this is not our fight alone.  American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region.  And that’s why I’ve insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days.  So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.
Our objective is clear:  We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.
First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists.  Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense.  Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are.  That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq.  This is a core principle of my presidency:  If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven. 
Second, we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground.  In June, I deployed several hundred American servicemembers to Iraq to assess how we can best support Iraqi security forces.  Now that those teams have completed their work –- and Iraq has formed a government –- we will send an additional 475 servicemembers to Iraq.  As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission –- we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq.  But they are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment.  We’ll also support Iraq’s efforts to stand up National Guard Units to help Sunni communities secure their own freedom from ISIL’s control.
Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition.  Tonight, I call on Congress again to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters.  In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its own people -- a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost.  Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all. 
Third, we will continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks.  Working with our partners, we will redouble our efforts to cut off its funding; improve our intelligence; strengthen our defenses; counter its warped ideology; and stem the flow of foreign fighters into and out of the Middle East.  And in two weeks, I will chair a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to further mobilize the international community around this effort.
Fourth, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization.  This includes Sunni and Shia Muslims who are at grave risk, as well as tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities.  We cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands. 
So this is our strategy.  And in each of these four parts of our strategy, America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners.  Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq; sending arms and assistance to Iraqi security forces and the Syrian opposition; sharing intelligence; and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid.  Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity.  And in the coming days he will travel across the Middle East and Europe to enlist more partners in this fight, especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria, to drive these terrorists from their lands.  This is American leadership at its best:  We stand with people who fight for their own freedom, and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity. 
My administration has also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home.  I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL, but I believe we are strongest as a nation when the President and Congress work together.  So I welcome congressional support for this effort in order to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger.
Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL.  And any time we take military action, there are risks involved –- especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions.  But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.  This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground.  This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.  And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year:  to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order. 
My fellow Americans, we live in a time of great change. Tomorrow marks 13 years since our country was attacked.  Next week marks six years since our economy suffered its worst setback since the Great Depression.  Yet despite these shocks, through the pain we have felt and the grueling work required to bounce back, America is better positioned today to seize the future than any other nation on Earth.
Our technology companies and universities are unmatched.  Our manufacturing and auto industries are thriving.  Energy independence is closer than it’s been in decades.  For all the work that remains, our businesses are in the longest uninterrupted stretch of job creation in our history.  Despite all the divisions and discord within our democracy, I see the grit and determination and common goodness of the American people every single day –- and that makes me more confident than ever about our country’s future.
Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world.  It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists.  It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny.  It is America –- our scientists, our doctors, our know-how –- that can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola.  It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so that they can’t pose a threat to the Syrian people or the world again.  And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, and tolerance, and a more hopeful future.
America, our endless blessings bestow an enduring burden.  But as Americans, we welcome our responsibility to lead.  From Europe to Asia, from the far reaches of Africa to war-torn capitals of the Middle East, we stand for freedom, for justice, for dignity.  These are values that have guided our nation since its founding. 
Tonight, I ask for your support in carrying that leadership forward.  I do so as a Commander-in-Chief who could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform –- pilots who bravely fly in the face of danger above the Middle East, and servicemembers who support our partners on the ground.
When we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain, here’s what one of them said:  “We owe our American friends our lives.  Our children will always remember that there was someone who felt our struggle and made a long journey to protect innocent people.”
That is the difference we make in the world.  And our own safety, our own security, depends upon our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation and uphold the values that we stand for –- timeless ideals that will endure long after those who offer only hate and destruction have been vanquished from the Earth.
May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of America."



  1. USA: Luftangriffe gegen Syrien...

    Stellen wir zwei Sachen klar: ISIS ist nicht islamisch. Denn keine Religion duldet das Töten Unschuldiger, und die Mehrheit der Opfer von ISIS waren Muslime. Und ISIS ist bestimmt kein Staat." "ISIS ist von keiner Regierung anerkannt und nicht von den Menschen, die es unterworfen hat (...) ISIS ist eine terroristische Organisation, ganz einfach." Die Terrormiliz Islamischer Staat sei eine kleine Gruppe, die großen Schaden anrichtet. „Sie sind einzigartig in ihrer Gewaltbereitschaft. Sie köpfen ihre Gefangenen. Sie töten Kinder. Sie versklaven und vergewaltigen Frauen und zwingen sie zu Ehen.“ IS bringe Gewalt nach Syrien, in den Irak und umliegende Regionen. Und IS habe Amerika bedroht. „Heute Abend möchte ich klarstellen, dass ihnen Amerika mit Stärke und Entschlossenheit entgegentreten wird.“

    In seiner viertelstündigen Rede an die Nation zur Primetime am Mittwochabend betonte US-Präsident Barack Obama, er werde nicht zögern, im Irak und Syrien gegen die Terrormiliz Islamischer Staat vorzugehen. "Unser Ziel ist klar: Wir werden ISIS mittels einer umfassenden und nachhaltigen Strategie der Terrorismusbekämpfung schwächen und letztenendes zerstören." In diesem Zusammenhang nannte der Präsident vier strategische Punkte....................

  2. Obama will ‘not hesitate’ to strike ISIS in Syria....

    U.S. President Barack Obama vowed on Thursday to wage a counter-terrorism campaign against militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) "wherever they are," in an indication he may authorize airstrikes in Syria.

    “Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL (ISIS) through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy,” Obama said.

    He said he would hunt down the ISIS militants “wherever they are.”

    “That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL (ISIS) in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven,” he

  3. Obama orders U.S. airstrikes in Syria against Islamic State...

    (Reuters) - President Barack Obama told Americans on Wednesday he had authorized U.S. airstrikes for the first time in Syria and more attacks in Iraq in a broad escalation of a campaign against the Islamic State militant group.

    Obama's decision to launch attacks inside Syria, which is embroiled in a three-year civil war, marked a turnabout for the president, who shied away a year ago from airstrikes to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons against his own people.

    In a widely anticipated, 13-minute White House speech, Obama said he would hunt down Islamic State militants "wherever they are" in a drive to degrade and ultimately destroy the group, which has seized broad stretches of Iraq and Syria.

    "That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven," he said, speaking on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    Obama asked Congress to authorize $500 million to train and arm “moderate” Syrian rebels. The training would take place in Saudi Arabia...................

  4. USA weiten Luftangriffe gegen IS auf Syrien aus...

    Im Kampf gegen die Terrormiliz Islamischer Staat (IS) weiten die USA ihre Luftangriffe vom Irak auf Syrien aus. Er werde nicht zögern, in beiden Ländern gegen die Dschihadisten vorzugehen, sagte Präsident Barack Obama am Mittwochabend (Ortszeit) in seiner Rede an die Nation. "Unser Ziel ist klar: Wir werden Is mit einer umfassenden und anhaltenden Anti-Terror-Strategie in die Schranken weisen und schließlich zerstören", sagte Obama. Außerdem sollen die moderaten syrischen Rebellen vom US-Militär ausgebildet und ausgerüstet werden. Obama rief den Kongress dazu auf, diese Maßnahme zu genehmigen.

    Gleichzeitig kündigte Obama die Entsendung von 475 weiteren Soldaten in den Irak an. Sie sollen dort irakische und kurdische Kräfte ausbilden, ausrüsten und beraten. Damit steigt die Zahl der in den Irak beorderten Soldaten auf etwa 1500. Einen Einsatz von Soldaten mit einem Kampfauftrag schloss Obama erneut aus. "Wir werden uns nicht in einen weiteren Bodenkrieg im Irak ziehen lassen", erklärte Obama vor dem Blue Room des Weißen Hauses.................

  5. Italy's Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti on Wednesday called for more collaboration among European intelligence services in fighting the threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) which has seized many areas in Syria and Iraq....

    Speaking at the end of a two-day informal meeting of European defense ministers in Italy's business capital Milan, Pinotti stressed the need for reinforced security and defense policies to address the Ukrainian and Syrian crisis at the doors of Europe.

    Though the ministers were focused on the present crisis, Europe has not ignored critical situations in other countries of the world including Somalia, Mali, the Central African Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina, where general elections will be held next month, she told a press conference.

    But new risks, she highlighted, could also come from the worsening of the Libyan scenario. The meeting in Milan was held following a NATO summit in Galles last week that Pinotti noted has somehow "left the Libyan theme in the background."

    The "successful" and "truly informal" exchange of views in Milan was useful both to review the situation after the NATO summit and to evaluate new possible risks coming from Libya, she highlighted.

    "Should the Libyan condition worsen, that area could become another threat linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria," Pinotti stressed.

    The Italian minister called on more collaboration between the intelligence services of EU member states to face what she said has become a "globalized problem" that poses a threat to the whole of Europe..................

  6. Obama: Wir bringen die Terroristen zur Strecke...

    Barack Obama will die amerikanischen Luftangriffe gegen die Terrormiliz „Islamischer Staat“ auf Syrien ausdehnen. Zudem kündigte er in seiner Fernsehansprache an, weitere Soldaten in den Irak zu schicken.

    Der amerikanische Präsident Barack Obama hat entschieden, Stellungen des „Islamischen Staats“ auf beiden Seiten der syrisch-irakischen Grenze aus der Luft angreifen zu lassen. Das gehört nach Angaben hoher Regierungsvertreter zu seiner neuen Strategie. Obama gab in einer Fernsehansprache am Mittwochabend das Ziel aus, die Terrororganisation „zu schwächen und letztendlich zu zerstören“. Nach der von Washington seit langem geforderten Bildung einer alle Volksgruppen vertretenden Regierung in Bagdad könne er „verkünden, dass Amerika eine breite Koalition anführen wird, um diese terroristische Bedrohung zurückzudrängen“...................

  7. The Pentagon is prepared to begin strikes as ordered, a senior defense official said on Wednesday night....

    "The US military is ready to conduct direct action against ISIL targets in Syria," the official said. "Decisions about when to conduct these actions will be made at a prudent time."

  8. US armed forces prepared to carry out orders, says Hagel ...

    "The men and women of the US armed forces are ready to carry out the orders of our commander-in-chief, to work with our partners across government, and to work with our friends and allies around the world to accomplish this mission," US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a statement after President Barack Obama's speech on Wednesday night.

  9. El presidente estadounidense se ha dirigido a la nación para exponer los detalles sobre la nueva estrategia militar contra el EI tanto en Irak, como en Siria. Según él, el Estado Islámico (EI) representa una amenaza para el pueblo de Irak y de Siria y para todo Oriente Medio.....

    Según Obama, desde el mes pasado la aviación estadounidense ha lanzado “más de 150 ataques aéreos exitosos" contra posiciónes del EI en Irak. "No voy a dudar a la hora de actuar contra el EI tanto en Siria como en Irak", aseguró. Anteriormente, tres representantes de la Casa Blanca confirmaron hoy a los medios que EE.UU. atacará desde el aire las posiciones del EI en Siria, informa Itar-Tass.

    No obstante, Obama dejó claro que no tiene intención de luchar contra el EI "a solas". "La fuerza estadounidense puede marcar una diferencia decisiva, pero no podemos hacer por los iraquíes lo que ellos tienen que hacer por sí mismos, como tampoco podemos ocupar el puesto de los aliados árabes en garantizar la seguridad de su región".

    La nueva estrategia de EE.UU. contra el EI pasa por el lanzamiento de ataques aéreos "sistemáticos" contra terroristas y el aumento de especialistas militares estadounidenses enviados a Irak para apoyar a las tropas iraquíes en cuestiones de adiestramiento militar, inteligencia y equipamento. El ejército estadounidense no participará en ofensivas terrestres contra el EI.

    Obama subrayó que no va a cooperar con el presidente sirio Bashar al-Assad en la lucha contra el EI en Siria. De hecho, recordó que ha vuelto a pedir al Congreso permiso para entrenar y equipar a los rebeldes sirios............................

  10. U.S. State Department: On the President's Speech on ISIL...

    Press Statement
    John Kerry
    Secretary of State
    Washington, DC
    September 10, 2014
    Tonight the President spoke directly to our country about what it will take to lead the world to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL, and we are already well underway in the effort to assemble the coalition to get the job done. We are uniting the world against a unified threat, and the President's strategy will succeed because doing it with allies and partners isn't just smart, it's strong.

    Working to create a common coalition against a common threat, the President sent me to Baghdad on Wednesday to meet with its new inclusive government, which forms the heart and the backbone of our anti-ISIL efforts. I will be traveling over the coming days throughout the Middle East and Europe to continue the diplomatic effort to meet a unifying threat with a unified response.

    We do so knowing both that American leadership is indispensable and that we cannot destroy this group on our own. Defeating this common enemy calls for a common cause, and we're taking it on to succeed together.

  11. ‘No safe haven’: Obama declares airstrikes on Islamic State ‘wherever it exists’...

    President Barack Obama on Wednesday outlined his plan to authorize broader US military involvement for hunting down the fighters of the notorious Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq, Syria and “wherever they exist.”

    In a public address to the American people, President Obama announced that the US will "conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists."

    “I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are," Obama stated. "That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

    The president’s strategy in Syria will also be to support opposition forces, and he again called on Congress to give the US government "additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters."

    "In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people; a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all, “ Obama said.

    To ensure that the Syrian opposition fighters are trained and equipped well enough to hold the ground liberated from the Islamic State terrorists, at least $500 million in a Department of Defense program are stipulated in a $5 billion Counterterrorism Partnership Fund request, according to the White House................

  12. Background Conference Call on the President's Address to the Nation (The White House)...

    ...SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I would just add, Andrea, on the question about aiding the Syrian moderate opposition in Syria to go after ISIL, the issue here is -- unlike in Iraq, where we have a government with whom we can work and a ground force that we can support and assist, we do not have a government, quite obviously, in Syria with whom we can work. We need to bolster the Syrian moderate opposition to enable it to be able to take and hold ground, pushing out both ISIL and the Assad regime. That is going to be essential to our strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the organization.

    As my colleague said, the President has made quite clear that ISIL will not have a safe haven in either Iraq or Syria, and we will conduct a systematic air campaign to roll back ISIL and address their freedom of movement across the borderless -- now borderless area between Iraq and Syria. And when that happens inside Syria, and going after and degrading ISIL and their operations there, we need to have a moderate Sunni force in order to come in and hold that ground.

    And what we’re asking from the Congress, and what the President has already asked the Congress for, is authorization to enable us to undertake that training/equipping mission. And now what we have is the commitment from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which we received, indeed, in a trip that I took over the last weekend to the Kingdom, to be a full partner with us in that effort, including by hosting that training program.......

  13. Syria main opposition backs Obama on ISIS...

    Syria’s Western-backed National Coalition opposition on Thursday urged U.S. Congress to approve as soon as possible President Barack Obama’s policy on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants after he authorized U.S. airstrikes for the first time in Syria.

    “The Syrian Coalition ... stands ready and willing to partner with the international community not only to defeat ISIS but also rid the Syrian people of the tyranny of the Assad regime,” coalition president Hadi al-Bahra said in a written statement.

    [Developing story]....................

  14. Syria opposition backs US anti-IS plan, urges action on Assad....

    Syria's opposition National Coalition welcomed a US plan to tackle the jihadist Islamic State group on Wednesday (Sep 10), but also urged action against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

    In a statement, the group said it backed a US plan for air strikes in Syria and training of rebel forces, but that a "stable and extremist-free region" required "degrading and ultimately removing the Assad repressive regime."...................

  15. Saudi Arabia Will Host Trainings of Syria’s Moderate Opposition....

    WASHINGTON, September 11 (RIA Novosti) -The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has agreed to host the train-and-equipment programs of the Syria's "moderate opposition," the US official told journalists.

    "We now have the commitment from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be a full partner in this effort - the train-and-equip program, to host that program," the official said, adding that the specific site on which the trainings will take place is currently being discussed.

    On Wednesday, the White House said, that ahead of his speech on US strategy on defeating the Islamic State, President Barack Obama called Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the two leaders "agreed that a stronger Syrian opposition is essential to confronting extremists like [Islamic State] as well as the [Syria's President Bashar] Assad regime."

    The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a Sunni jihadist group that has been fighting against the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories under its control later that month................

  16. Germany, Britain say won't take part in anti-IS air strikes in Syria...

    BERLIN - The foreign ministers of Germany and Britain said on Thursday they would not be taking part in air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State militant group.

    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told a news conference in Berlin that Germany has not been asked to take part in the air strikes and would not be participating. "To quite clear, we have not been asked to do so and neither will we do so," Steinmeier said.

    His British counterpart Philip Hammond said Britain "supports entirely the U.S. approach of developing an international coalition" against the Islamic State, whom he described as "barbaric", and said that in terms of how to help such a coalition "we have ruled nothing out".

    But, asked by Reuters after his meeting with Steinmeier about President Barrack Obama's proposal for air strikes against IS in Syria, Hammond replied: "Let me be clear: Britain will not be taking part in any air strikes in Syria. We have already had that discussion in our parliament last year and we won't be revisiting that position."

    He said the legal environment and "military permissiveness" in Syria and Iraq were very different.............

  17. Syria reiterates need for its consent in foreign actions on IS insdie Syria ...

    Syria's Minister of Reconciliation Ali Haidar on Thursday reiterated that any uncoordinated foreign airstrikes on Syrian territories without the consent of the Syrian government will be deemed as an aggression.

    "Any action of any kind without the consent of the Syrian government will be deemed as an aggression," Haidar said, one day after US President Barak Obama sanctioned airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) positions in Syria but said his administration can't "rely" on the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

    Haidar warned that Islamic State militants could be used by Western powers in the coming stage as a pretext for intervention in the region's countries unless there are true intentions to battle terrorism.

    "The international effort has not yet amounted to the real stage of countering terrorism," he said, adding that talks about moderate opposition is not accurate as "whoever holds weapons is a terrorist."

    Last month, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution on sanctions against extremist Islamist groups in Iraq and Syria, in an attempt to cut off funding to these groups.

    1. Assad, beware: U.S. sends stark warning to Syria...

      The Syrian military's air defenses would face retaliation if Syria attempted to respond to U.S. airstrikes that are expected against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria's (ISIS) targets in Syria, senior U.S. officials said on Monday.

      President Barack Obama's authorization of the use of American airpower against ISIS's strongholds in Syria has raised the question of whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would respond in some way.

      Senior U.S. officials who briefed reporters said Assad should not interfere, that the United States has a good sense of where Syrian air defenses and command-and-control facilities are located.

      One official said if the Assad military were to demonstrate that it was a threat to the U.S. ability to operate in the area, it would put Syrian air defenses in the region at risk.

      The United States has stressed it will not coordinate with the Assad government in any way in its fight against Islamic State. Obama's position has long been that he would like to see Assad leave power, particularly after using chemical weapons against his own people last year................

  18. Turkey: We Won’t Allow US to Attack ISIL from Our Airbases...

    "Turkey will not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operations," the official said on condition of anonymity.

    "Incirlik will be used only for logistical purposes and humanitarian assistance", the source, referring to a southern air base used for US and NATO operations in Iraq.

    Turkey has come under fire by some critics for indirectly encouraging the formation of ISIL because of its support of extremists militants fighting the Syrian government.
    But Ankara vehemently denies its strategy has backfired.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry was holding talks in Saudi Arabia on Thursday to drum up support from 10 key Arab nations and Turkey, following President Barack Obama's announcement of a new strategy against ISIL that will include now air strikes in Syria.

    Turkey now sees itself a victim of the ISIL with Takfiri militants holding 49 Turks hostage, including diplomats and children, abducted from the Turkish consulate in Mosul in Iraq on June 11.

    "Our hands and arms are tied because of the hostages," the official told AFP.
    "Turkey will not take part in any combat mission, nor supply weapons."

    Though Turkey will refuse use of Incirlik Air Base for lethal air attacks in any US-led operation, it can be used for logistical and humanitarian operations, the official said.

  19. Iran's supreme leader said on Monday he had personally rejected an offer from the United States for talks to fight Islamic State, an apparent blow to Washington's efforts to build a military coalition to fight militants in both Iraq and Syria....

    World powers meeting in Paris on Monday gave public backing to military action to fight Islamic State fighters in Iraq. France sent jets on a reconnaissance mission to Iraq, a step toward becoming the first ally to join the U.S.-led air campaign there.

    The United States launched an air strike against an Islamic State target southwest of Baghdad, the U.S. Central Command said on Monday night, expanding its campaign against the militant group that has seized parts of Iraq and Syria...................

  20. Kerry says not to cooperate with Iran to fight IS...

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday refused to cooperate with Iran to fight the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria as moves to forge an international coalition to launch military operation against the terrorists were taking shape.

    Speaking at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Paris after an international meeting on security and peace in Iraq, Kerry said: " We are not coordinating with Iran."

    "I have no idea of what interpretation they drew from any discussion that may or may not have taken place," he was quoted as saying by local reports.

    Kerry's remarks came after Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamene said Iran rejected an American invitation to coordinated fight to eradicate Islamist insurgents that have seized major cities in northern Iraq and Syria and threatened to establish an Islamic State in the region.

    Tehran was the main absent at Paris conference where participants agreed to offer the needed military support to Iraqi authorities to face "a global threat," of terrorism.

    As top diplomats from the United States, Britain, France, Germany China and Russia will meet Iranian negotiators on Thursday to reach lasting accord on their nuclear program, Kerry hoped "to find a way to reach an agreement that is important to the world but there is some very difficult issues."

    In exchange for limited sanctions relief, Iran accepted last November to halt enrichment above 5 percent and neutralizing its stockpile of near 20 percent uranium by means of dilution or converting and to not installing more centrifuges.

    However, West powers asked Tehran to close more centrifuges to not build a nuclear power..............

  21. U.S. partners unclear on roles in fight against Islamic State...

    Many countries have said they support a coalition the United States hopes to build to fight Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, but most have been vague about any specific role they might play.

    Below is a list of some of the key countries that may take part in the anti-IS coalition and where they stand.


    France has signaled it will carry out air strikes in Iraq and send special forces to the country to help direct them and to train armed forces. It is providing arms to the Kurds and will send special forces to the country to help direct air strikes and train armed forces.

    France has cited legal and military difficulties in intervening in Syria and said it does not want strikes against IS targets there to benefit Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    France’s forces are also stretched, with more than 5,000 troops in West Africa. Its annual overseas defense budget is already almost triple what was originally planned at a time when the government is under severe pressure to cut spending.


    Britain has said any strikes in Syria would be complicated. It has not ruled out any military options, but has not explicitly said whether it would take part in air strikes in Iraq. It has delivered aid, given weapons to the Kurds and promised training.

    With an election less than nine months away and London on tenterhooks ahead of Thursday's Scottish independence vote, the British government is well aware of public opposition to Britain’s role in invading Iraq with the United States in 2003.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron is also scarred by an embarrassing parliamentary defeat last summer, when MPs voted against military action in Syria. Members of the government have said they would seek a vote before engaging in any new strikes.


    Germany, which broke a post-war pledge not to take part in conflicts by providing weapons to the Kurds, has ruled out air strikes given its historic anti-war stance since the end of World War Two.

    Most other European countries have shown little desire to go beyond humanitarian and logistical aid.


    Turkey, a NATO member and close U.S. ally that borders both Iraq and Syria, has ruled out taking part in the military effort. It fears any engagement could endanger the more than 40 Turkish nationals being held hostage by IS fighters.

    Turkey has backed mainly Sunni rebels in Syria and fears any military action against IS could weaken Assad’s foes further. It is also reluctant to strengthen Kurds in Iraq and Syria out of concern that this might stroke demand for independent for independence from its own Kurdish population........

  22. Congress eyes arming Syrian rebels as airstrikes expand...

    An airstrike from the US military's new campaign to combat "Islamic State" has struck near Baghdad. Meanwhile, the US Congress is looking to approve a measure to arm moderate Syrian rebels before midterm elections.

    The American military's Central Command announced on Monday that it had conducted airstrikes near Sinjar and southwest of Baghdad. The bombings are the first following US President Obama's expanded military response to the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" (IS) group in Iraq and Syria.

    "US military forces continued to attack ISIL (IS) terrorists in Iraq, employing attack and fighter aircraft to conduct two airstrikes Sunday and Monday in support of Iraqi security forces near Sinjar and southwest of Baghdad," Central Command's statement said. ISIL - sometimes also written ISIS - was the previous name claimed by "IS."

    The US began airstrikes against IS positions, mostly in northern Iraq, last month; Monday's announcement was seen as an indicator that the mission was expanding in scope.

    Congress presses forward on arming rebels

    Part of the expanded scope includes plans to arm moderate Syrian rebels so they can fight IS on the ground in Syria. On Monday, #link:17922307:world leaders from 30 countries met in Paris and agreed to combat IS in Iraq and Syria, but no mention was made of specific combat plans to tackle the jihadist group.

    Republicans in the US Congress are to meet on Tuesday to try and gain support for an amendment to a spending bill that would authorize the Pentagon to take action needed to arm the moderate Syrian rebels. Some lawmakers have expressed concern that it would be difficult to discern the moderate rebels from more extreme factions fighting in Syria's civil war, especially given alliances that change quickly.

    A vote on the measure is expected this week, as lawmakers are expected to head out on the campaign trail ahead of mid-term elections at the beginning of November.

    mz/cd (AFP, AP)


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