2018-02-13 / Nation/World

U.S. to anti-IS coalition: ‘keep eyes on prize’

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — The Trump administration, increasingly concerned that the 74-strong coalition it cobbled together to destroy the Islamic State group is losing sight of the prime objective, pressed its partners today to refocus their efforts, overcome rivalries and concentrate on the task at hand: the eradication from Iraq and Syria of the extremist group.

The alarm U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sounded at a coalition gathering in Kuwait came with the fight at a critical moment and the mission shifting from offensive military operations to stabilization.

Distractions are adding up, such as Turkey’s fighting with U.S.-backed Kurdish rebels in Syria and intensifying anti- American rhetoric from Turkish leaders. Meanwhile, renewed spillover from Syria’s civil war, including hostilities between non-coalition actors — Iran, its proxies in Syria, and Israel — risk creating a new conflict in an already crowded battle space.

“The end of major combat operations does not mean we have achieved the enduring defeat of ISIS,” Tillerson told the meeting in Kuwait City, using an alternative acronym for the Islamic State group. “Without continued attention and support from coalition members, we risk the return of extremist groups like ISIS in liberated areas of Iraq and Syria and their spread to new locations.”

Return to top