‘Some anti-IS partners doing nothing’

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WASHINGTON: Several members of the US-led coalition attacking the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria are doing “nothing at all” to help destroy the jihadists, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Friday.

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His comments mark a departure from the Pentagon’s typical depiction of the 65-member coalition, which carries the slogan “One mission, many nations,” and is frequently touted to highlight global resolve in the predominantly US effort to defeat the IS group.

“Many of them are not doing enough, or are doing nothing at all,” Carter said in an
interview with CNBC on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“We can do a lot ourselves … (but) we are looking for other people to play their part,” he added, without singling any country out.

In a separate interview with Bloomberg TV, Carter called the anti-IS alliance a “so-called” coalition, highlighting frustrations the Pentagon has with some partners— particularly Sunni Arab nations—not doing enough.

“We need others to carry their weight, there should be no free riders,” he said.

Carter has spent the past week in Europe, primarily in Paris, where he sought to persuade allies to step up their efforts against the IS group.

He is meeting with representatives from another 26 allied nations next month to make the same appeal.

Turkey’s porous border

Carter reiterated calls for one such partner, Turkey, to bolster its fight against the jihadists.

Turkey is allowing the United States to use Incirlik, a geographically vital air base in the south, to strike IS targets in Iraq and Syria, but Carter said Ankara needs to do more to secure its lengthy border with Syria.

“Turkey is a long-time friend of ours,” he said during a Davos question-and-answer session.

But “the reality is” that it has a border that “has been porous to foreign fighters.”

“They’re on the list .  .  .  it’s not a small list, of countries that I think could make contributions that are distinctive, unique and necessary to the defeat of ISIL,” he added, using an alternative acronym for the IS group.

AFP

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