Coalition gathers to hear Trump Islamic State plan

Cheryl Sanders
April 5, 2017

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson bared this during a meeting of 68 countries on the USA -led Global Coalition to counter the jihadist group in Syria and Iraq.

Tillerson also urged coalition members to step up their military and financial contributions to the fight, and toward efforts to stabilize Iraq and Syria once the extremist group has been removed.

The US is now providing 75 percent of coalition military resources in support of local forces in Iraq and Syria, the secretary of state said, adding that for humanitarian efforts, the proportion is reversed. Now, he said, US coalition partners should step forward and pay 75 percent of the estimated $2 billion needed this year for stabilization and reconstruction of those areas. "I think it's important that we bring our allies in the region together. and I think we have to be willing to use the stick, the punishment against Bashar al-Assad for violations of any kind of cease-fire". But whether it's a matter of months or of years, stamping out the world's most threatening and widespread Islamist terrorist organization is likely to take much more of a long-term USA commitment than the new administration has so far suggested it wants to make, some regional experts say.

Tillerson is hosting McCully and other foreign ministers at the Counter-Isil [Isis] Foreign Ministers' meeting. "A successful stabilization phase will set the stage for a successful normalization phase", the U.S. diplomat said.

"The United States will do its part", Tillerson said, "but the circumstances on the ground require more, from my point of view", of other coalition members. Across the border in Syria, U.S. Special Forces are assisting Syrian rebels, Kurdish groups, and Turkish armed forces as they prepare for an assault on Raqqa, the terror group's de facto capital. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks at the Meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition on the Defeat of ISIS, Wednesday, March 22, 2017, at the State Department in Washington.

As has been the case in the past, Tillerson's comments did not offer much in the way of details on how the USA intends to make this happen, though he did offer the idea that the United States would establish "interim zones of stability, through ceasefires".

Tillerson also touched on the proposal to create "safe areas" in Syria, describing them as "interim zones of stability" that would be created through ceasefires to improve the safety of resident and displaced civilians. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will host the 68 foreign ministers and senior Coalition leaders from around the world.

For this year, over $2 billion in assistance has been pledged for Iraq and Syria by the coalition's partners.

One was Kani Xulam, an activist who heads the Washington-based American Kurdish Information Network, who said he was forcibly removed by security guards despite having secured an invitation to the event at the National Press Club.

The United States does not want to commit too many of its own troops to the fight - despite plans to more than double its own 850-strong contingent in the country and add artillery units. However, he added that "as a coalition we are not in the business of nation building or reconstruction", emphasizing that funds should be used to counter the threat from militant groups, and in turn, enable the countries to rebuild themselves. Trump has hit his predecessor for the same reason, but has also characterized the decision to invade Iraq in the first place as one of the worst us foreign policy blunders ever.

Rather than the "safe zones" protected by US air cover that the Syrian opposition and some allies have long demanded for civilians besieged by Syrian and Russian bombing in the separate civil war against Assad, Tillerson's "interim zones of stability" refer to areas cleared of the Islamic State by the coalition and Turkey.

He maintained that local partners will bear the brunt of the recovery effort.

Other reports by iNewsToday