Coalition of nations strategize on ways to combat ISIL

Islamic Extremism

Twenty nations signed a coalition with a the singular goal of stopping ISIL. CCTV America’s Nathan King reports on the group’s first joint meeting as U.S. President Barack Obama hosted coalition defense ministers near Washington.

Despite hundreds of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, ISIL forces are within striking distance of Baghdad airport and have been on the brink of taking the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane that raised the specter of a massacre. Speaking to defense chiefs from more than 20 nations, the U.S. President played down immediate expectations.

“This is going to be a long term campaign. There are not quick fixes involved as with any military effort. There will be days of progress, and there are going to be periods of setback,” Obama said.

In the short term, the strategy to prevent the fall of Kobane is a work in progress. U.S. Central Command announced 21 airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around the town on Tuesday, seven airstrikes on Monday, and three on Sunday. Nevertheless, the ISIL assault is unrelenting. The U.S. has ruled out ground troops and no other member of the coalition is willing to commit them either.

The nearest promise to boots on the ground in Syria is the U.S. and coalition pledge to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels, but this program hasn’t started and will take months.

There are also strategic splits within the coalition. U.S. administration officials took to the airwaves this weekend to say Turkey had promised the use of their air bases to U.S. and coalition aircraft.

President Obama said the strategy will not be a purely military one. He said that to defeat ISIL, there needs to be the political will in Iraq, and Syrian willingness to fight ISIL, and an atmosphere of hope and inclusion in the region which will make desperate people less likely to allow groups like ISIL to grow.

For more on the meeting of the anti-ISIL coalition members, CCTV America spoke with Mike Lyons, a senior fellow with the Truman National Security Project.