US Defense Secretary heads to Middle East seeking military cooperation

World Today

The U.S. Defense chief is heading to the Middle East, looking for more military cooperation in the fight against ISIL.
The news comes as the U.S. president tries to reassure Americans about their safety and the world and  about the success of the U.S.-led military campaign.  CCTV’s Jessica Stone reports.

US Defense Secretary heads to Middle East seeking military cooperation

US Defense Secretary heads to Middle East seeking military cooperation

The U.S. Defense chief is heading to the Middle East, looking for more military cooperation in the fight against ISIL. The news comes as the U.S. president tries to reassure Americans about their safety and the world and about the success of the U.S.-led military campaign. CCTV's Jessica Stone reports.

It’s been more than a year since U.S. President Barack Obama has convened his national security team at the Pentagon. Then as now, the topic is the fight against ISIL.  It’s a fight, Obama says the U.S. is stepping up from the air…

“Last month in November, we dropped more bombs on ISIL targets than any other month since this campaign started,” Obama says.

But with neither the U.S., Russia, nor the Europeans committing combat troops, the anti-ISIL effort still needs more partners on the ground.

The U.S. defense secretary Ash Carter now heads to the Middle East, seeking military cooperation. But the gulf countries are unlikely to provide ground troops of their own. They’ve spent months intervening in Yemen’s civil war.

The Pentagon says Carter will also make his first trip to Turkey as defense secretary. Obama wants Turkey to firmly seal its borders with Iraq and Syria. Holes along these borders continue to allow ISIL’s economy to thrive.

Obama says ISIL has largely been pushed back from almost all of the border region and has lost 40 percent of the populated areas it used to control in Iraq.

But with the San Bernardino attack earlier this month, Americans are not just worried about ISIL terror in the middle east, but the ISIL-inspired terror in their back yard.

Recent polling shows Americans are more concerned about terror attacks than they used to be. An AP poll shows 7 in 10 think the risk of attack is somewhat high, up from 5 in 10 in January.