Date
18 December 2017
President Barack Obama calls Saudi King Abdullah ahead of a speech to announce a broad coalition against the Islamic State. Photo: Reuters
President Barack Obama calls Saudi King Abdullah ahead of a speech to announce a broad coalition against the Islamic State. Photo: Reuters

Obama vows relentless fight against Islamic State

United States President Barack Obama is promising a broad coalition to wage a relentless campaign to root out Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria wherever they exist.

The plan will not involve American troops fighting on foreign soil, Reuters reported citing excerpts of a speech Obama is scheduled to deliver Wednesday (Thursday in Hong Kong).

“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.

The growing threat by the extremist group to the government of Iraq and US interests in the country prompted Obama to authorize air strikes against Islamic State targets there in August. He is preparing to expand the offensive to the group’s havens in Syria, according to Bloomberg.

Obama will outline a US-led coalition against Islamic State.

Secretary of State John Kerry is flying to Saudi Arabia to press foreign ministers of Sunni Arab nations for commitments to help in the fight against Islamic State.

The nations include the Gulf States, Jordan and Turkey. Lebanon, with a multi-sectarian society, and Shiite-majority Iraq are also participating. Kerry met with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad Tuesday.

As part of the strategy, Obama is renewing a request he made in June for congress authorize a US$500 million program to train and equip vetted Syrian rebel groups who are rivals of Islamic State in the civil war to topple Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Bloomberg reported.

Kerry is seeking support from the Arab countries to help with expanding assistance to the Syrian rebels.

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