President Barack Obama’s strategy to defeat the barbarous terror group known as the Islamic State, or ISIL, calls for a broad U.S.-led coalition of countries giving sustained and critical help in support of Iraqi security forces and the moderate Syrian opposition, so the murderous terror organization is ultimately destroyed.
Regional countries are crucial to this effort. On September 11, Arab leaders from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, agreed to join the coalition against ISIL. After meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry, they, along with Mr. Kerry, signed the Jeddah Communique. In it the countries’ representatives “agreed to do their share in the comprehensive fight against ISIL, including stopping the flow of foreign fighters through neighboring countries; countering financing of ISIL and other violent extremists; [and] repudiating their hateful ideology.”
The countries also pledged to participate in “ending impunity and bringing perpetrators to justice, contributing to humanitarian efforts; assisting with the reconstruction and rehabilitation of communities brutalized by ISIL; supporting states that face the most acute ISIL threat; and, as appropriate, joining in the many aspects of a coordinated military campaign against ISIL.”
In the Communique the participants “also resolved to strengthen their support for the new Iraqi Government in its efforts to unite all Iraqis in combatting ISIL, and discussed a strategy to destroy ISIL, wherever it is, including in both Iraq and Syria.”
The United States estimates that ISIL has between 20,000 and 31,000 fighters in the two countries.
Secretary of State John Kerry remains engaged in meeting with leaders in the Middle East and beyond to build the broadest coalition possible to defeat ISIL. “This is a moment,” said Secretary Kerry in Jedda, “which is one of those rare opportunities in history where leaders making the right choices can actually bend the arc of history in the right direction in…the direction of the goals that we share: peace and prosperity and security for all.”