US Defense Chief Appeals for More Help in Fighting IS
U.S. defense chief Ash Carter appealed Thursday to his counterparts in the U.S.-led coalition conducting aerial attacks on Islamic State in Iraq and Syria for more military and financial help to carry out the campaign.
Carter met with defense ministers from more than two dozen countries in Brussels, talking privately with some officials but also publicly shaming some unnamed countries in the 66-nation coalition for doing “nothing at all.”
The Netherlands announced last month that it is expanding its role in the fighting from Iraq to Syria, while Saudi Arabia says it might send ground troops into Syria.
The Pentagon chief said he would lay out “a concrete military campaign plan and an opportunity to do what the United States has been doing for some months now, which is accelerating its own contributions.”
Carter said the U.S. “will be sharing with them the operational campaign for the defeat” of Islamic State, “which we need to get done as soon as possible.”
The coalition has launched more than 10,000 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in the last year and a half in Iraq and Syria, but the U.S. by far has launched most of the attacks, 68 percent of them in Iraq and 94 percent in Syria.
The U.S. estimates that the coalition and Iraqi forces have recaptured 40 percent of the Iraqi territory and 10 percent of Syrian lands that Islamic State had seized over the last two years.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s budget plan for the year starting in October calls for $7.5 billion to fight Islamic State, a 50 percent increase over the current year. Part of the spending calls for buying 45,000 more GPS-guided smart bombs to use against Islamic State targets.