NATO weighs joining counter-ISIL coalition

World Today

President Donald Trump walks with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel to a meeting at the Royal Palace, Wednesday, May 24, 2017, in Brussels. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Following the Manchester terrorist attack, NATO members are weighing whether to join the U.S.-led Counter-ISIL coalition. But the decision is pitting a new American president’s anti-terror agenda against European reticence to get formally involved in another war front.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.

NATO weighs joining counter-ISIL coalition

Following the Manchester terrorist attack, NATO members are weighing whether to join the U.S.-led Counter-ISIL coalition. But the decision is pitting a new American president's anti-terror agenda against European reticence to get formally involved in another war front.

U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Brussels with the recent attacks on his mind.

“When you see something like what happened a few days ago you realize how important it is to win this fight. And we will win this fight,” Trump said.

For Washington D.C., winning would be helped if NATO joined the U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition as a group, not just a series of individual nations. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg put counter-terrorism at the top of the agenda for the military alliance meeting.

“We are supporting already the global coalition to defeat ISIS. Many allies would like to see NATO as a full member of the coalition for two reasons: partly because it sends a strong and clear message of unity in the fight against terrorism and especially in light of the terrorist attacks in Manchester, I think it’s important that we send this unified message,” Stoltenberg said.

While France has provided air support in the fight against ISIL, and Germany has contributed some 1200 ground troops, both countries have resisted the idea of NATO joining collectively.

Neither nation wants to deepen an intractable intervention in the Middle East or be forced to take responsibility for rebuilding Iraq in the aftermath.

Still, in the wake of Trump’s harsh criticisms of the NATO alliance, including calling it “obsolete,” Stoltenberg is pressuring members to show unity.

“The spirit of Manchester and the spirit of Britain is far mightier than the sick plots of depraved terrorists. That is why the terrorists will never win, and we will prevail,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said.

May, who has warned her nation of yet another possible attack, is expected to present a strong case to more closely coordinate NATO members against global terror groups like ISIL.