DYSFUNCTION IN ISIS COALITION “U.S. efforts to build a broad coalition to combat Islamic State on Monday ran straight into the sectarian chasm that has divided the Middle East for centuries, with Arab allies disagreeing over whether Iraq’s neighbors—particularly Iran and Syria—should have a role in any military campaign. A group of 26 countries gathering in Paris—including the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Russia—vowed to back the fight against the Sunni extremist organization ‘by any means necessary, including appropriate military assistance.’ But a day after the U.S. said Arab states were willing to participate in airstrikes, Arab countries attending the Paris meeting gave no sign they were ready to join the military campaign. The U.S. also faced criticism from Russia, Syria’s top international ally, which insisted airstrikes on Syria must be coordinated with Damascus and Tehran.” Iran is being left out of any military coodination, according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Last night marked the official beginning of the expanded pursuit of ISIS, with two airstrikes in “support of the Iraqi forces near Sinjar and southwest of Baghdad.” [WSJ]



U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday to endorse the new Iraqi government hours before President Barack Obama will address the American people about his strategy for combating ISIS militants.

Baghdad is Kerry’s first stop on a regional tour to enlist Arab support for a global coalition to defeat ISIS.

“Almost every single country on Earth has a role to play in eliminating the ISIL threat and the evil that it represents,” Kerry told reporters Monday on the eve of his departure, using an acronym for the group, which now calls itself the Islamic State.

Kerry said the United States would assemble a coalition “built to endure for the months, and perhaps years, to come.”

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