Thursday, August 21, 2014

Islamic State can’t be beat without addressing Syrian side of border, top general says

By Dan Lamothe and Karen DeYoung August 21 at 5:47 PM, WashPost

Islamic State cannot be defeated without addressing “both sides of what is essentially at this point a nonexistent border” between Iraq and Syria, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday.

The United States and its allies in the Middle East and beyond need to join together to defeat the terrorist group “over time,” Gen. Martin Dempsey said. Asked whether the United States would extend its current campaign of airstrikes in Iraq into Syria, Dempsey said airstrikes were “only one small part” of what is necessary to defeat the group.

“I’m not predicting those will occur in Syria, at least not by the United States of America,” he said. “But it requires the application of all the tools of national power–diplomatic, economic, information, military.”

President Obama has long resisted direct U.S. military intervention in Syria, where Islamic State is the strongest of several militant groups fighting both the Syrian government and U.S.-backed rebels. But the group’s rapid advance into Iraq, and this week’s videotaped execution of an American hostage it was holding in Syria, have led to calls to revisit that policy.

(More here.)

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