Obama, foreign allies to discuss plan to destroy IS

imgSome three weeks before U.S. congressional elections viewed largely as a referendum on Obama’s leadership, the president will aim to show the U.S. public and allies abroad that he is committed to a plan to degrade and destroy the group that has taken over large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

Obama will attend a meeting led by General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with foreign defense chiefs at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington at 3 p.m. EDT to discuss the coalition’s work.

“It is part of ongoing efforts to build the coalition and integrate the capabilities of each country into the broader strategy,” said Alistair Baskey, spokesman for the White House National Security Council.

The strategy is being called into question.

Republican Senator John McCain, a frequent Obama critic, said on Sunday that “they’re winning and we’re not,” referring to Islamic State. The United Nations said on Monday that fighting in Iraq’s western Anbar province had forced up to 180,000 people to flee after Islamic State, also known as ISIS, captured the city of Hit.

“This is a long campaign. It hasn’t gone badly, but it certainly hasn’t gone well,” said Anthony Cordesman, national security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“It is very important, quite aside from trying to show Americans that he’s leading, that he shows other countries he’s committed,” Cordesman said, adding that the defense officials from abroad were in many cases more involved in setting policy than their U.S. military counterparts.

Representatives from Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates were expected to attend.

 

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