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]
OBAMA’S ISIS STRATEGY TAKING SHAPE “The Obama administration said Sunday that ‘several’ Arab nations had offered to join in airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but any sustained military campaign does not appear imminent, and is likely to require an even more significant commitment from other nations and fighting forces in the region. In interviews and public statements, administration and military officials described a battle plan that would not accelerate in earnest until disparate groups of Iraqi forces, Kurds and Syrian rebels stepped up to provide the fighting forces on the ground.” Over the weekend, ISIS released a video allegedly depicting the beheading of of British aid worker David Haines. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron called Haines a “British hero.” [NYT]
JACK VAN IMPE MINISTRIES
ISIS, the terror group that calls itself the Islamic State, “can muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria,” a CIA spokesman tells CNN. That is two to three times more than the 10,000 fighters previously estimated by the CIA.
“This new total reflects an increase in members because of stronger recruitment since June following battlefield successes and the declaration of a caliphate, greater battlefield activity, and additional intelligence,” the spokesman said.
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