10 Arab Countries Back U.S. Campaign Against IS

United States receives the backing of 10 Arab countries for a "coordinated military campaign" against Islamic State fighters.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Member of Islamic state
Member of Islamic state

The United States on Thursday received the backing of 10 Arab countries for a "coordinated military campaign" against Islamic State fighters, Reuters reported.

According to the report, after talks in Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State John Kerry won backing from 10 Arab countries - Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and six Gulf states including rich rivals Saudi Arabia and Qatar - for a coalition to fight the Sunni militants that have seized swathes of Iraq and Syria.

"Arab nations play a critical role in that coalition, the leading role really across all lines of effort: military support, humanitarian aid, our work to stop the flow of illegal funds," Kerry was quoted as having told a news conference.

Non-Arab Sunni power Turkey also attended the talks in Jeddah but two other major regional players - Shiite Iran and Syria itself - were excluded, a sign of the difficulty of building a coalition across the Middle East's sectarian battle lines.

The Arab states agreed in a communiqué to do more to stop the flow of funds and fighters to Islamic State and help rebuild communities "brutalized" by the group, according to Reuters.

"The participating states agreed to do their share in the comprehensive fight against [IS], including ... as appropriate, joining in the many aspects of a coordinated military campaign against [IS]," they said.

Kerry met the Arab leaders to drum up support a day after President Barack Obama announced his plans to strike fighters in Iraq and Syria.

U.S. officials said Kerry also sought permission to make more use of bases in the region and fly more warplanes overhead, issues that were not mentioned in the communiqué. Kerry said none of the countries in the coalition would send ground troops.

Obama announced his plans in a prime time address on Wednesday to build an alliance to root out Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq, plunging the United States into two conflicts in which nearly every country in the Middle East has a stake.

The region has been galvanized since June when Islamic State fighters, already in control of much of Syria, swept through northern Iraq, seizing cities, slaughtering prisoners, and proclaiming a "caliphate" that would rule over all Muslims.

The White House says the group is a threat to the West as well, attracting fighters from around the world who could return to carry out attacks at home.