Inside Story

Joining the fight against Islamic State?

The US seeks a global coalition to take on fighters who have seized large areas of Iraq and Syria.

US President Barack Obama is building a coalition of nations to combat the threat posed by the Islamic State group, a threat the White House says now extends beyond Iraq to the wider region and the world.

To defeat the group, the US is reaching out to friends, allies and foes alike, calling for a common effort – even if it means some governments working with others they would ordinarily oppose.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a briefing: “The focus will be on multiple lines of effort, including military support to our Iraqi partners, stopping the flow of foreign fighters, countering ISIL’s [Islamic State’s] financing and funding, addressing humanitarian crises, and de-legitimising ISIL’s ideology.”

Nine mostly European nations agreed to join the US-led coalition at a NATO meeting in Wales.

The UK, France, Canada, Australia, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark are expected to lend military and financial support.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is also drumming up support in the Middle East.

But can regional powers work together, and will there be any conditions?

And is there a broader international appetite for another prolonged military campaign – one that Obama has conceded could drag on for years?

Presenter: Adrian Finighan


Ibrahim Sharqieh – deputy director at the Brookings Doha Center.

Phyllis Bennis – director at the Institute for Policy Studies, and author of the book ‘Ending the Iraq War: A Primer’.

Ali Khedery – CEO of the strategic consultancy Dragoman Partners, and former special assistant to five US ambassadors to Iraq.