The terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, represents a grave threat to the people of Syria and Iraq, as well as to the entire region and the international community. Since June, the group has seized about one third of the territory of Iraq, and about the same in war-torn Syria. This is a particularly disastrous situation for the indigent populations, because ISIL persecutes with equal zeal Shia Muslims, Sunni Muslims who oppose them, as well as members of minority groups, such as Christians, Shabaks, Turkmen and Yezidis.
That is why the international community is rapidly forming a task force that will immediately begin working to stop ISIL and roll back its gains. “It will…require a unified approach at the international, regional, and local level – combining military, law enforcement, intelligence, economic, and diplomatic tools,” said Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in a joint statement.
The first critical step in this effort is the formation of a new government in Iraq. “We discussed in detail how NATO allies can extend immediate support to a new government in its efforts to unify the country against ISIL,” wrote the two Secretaries.
The coordinated, multi-pronged effort to defeat ISIL will include a number of steps, including military support to Iraq, and an effort by coalition partners to stop foreign fighters from travelling through their territories to join ISIL. The coalition will work to restrict ISIL's access to the global financial system so it can’t fund itself, whether through selling stolen petroleum or receiving donations from sympathizers. The coalition will address the humanitarian crises created by ISIL; and work to de-legitimize ISIL's ideology by continuing to expose its brutality and empty vision.
“The effort to degrade and destroy the threat posed by ISIL will take time and persistence,” said Secretary Kerry and Secretary Hagel in their statement. “Our NATO allies and partners…have confirmed their readiness to be a full part of this coordinated approach.”