World Plots Against ISIS in Paris

Conference opens in France today
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2014 7:31 AM CDT
Updated Sep 15, 2014 7:43 AM CDT
From left, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil al Arabi, Czech Republic Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo,...   (AP Photo/Michel Euler, Pool)

(Newser) – The world is discussing the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Paris today, with President Francois Hollande opening a conference attended by leaders and diplomats from 25-plus countries by saying "there is no time to lose. Iraq's combat against terrorism is also ours." Or so hopes Iraqi president Fuad Masum, who urged those in attendance to expand the fight against ISIS to Syria, reports the New York Times. "We must not allow them to have sanctuaries. We must pursue them wherever they are." The Times notes that, thus far, the US has OKed only intelligence gathering over Syria. More on the ISIS front:

  • Not in attendance at the conference: Iran. Though France "initially opened the door to a possible role" by the country, per the Times, John Kerry put the kibosh on the idea over fears it would dissuade Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern states from participating. Iran, for its part, says that Syria should have been invited to the table.

  • Though it was announced yesterday that several Arab nations have agreed to join the fight against ISIS, with the BBC reporting that the anti-ISIS coalition now stands at about 40 countries including 10 Arab states, specifics remain in short supply. A BBC analyst describes a "scramble to craft a coherent plan from contributions offered" by the countries. The Wall Street Journal reports that while no officials have named which Mideast states might also conduct airstrikes, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, and Qatar likely have the ability to join the US campaign.
  • As far as those airstrikes go, five weeks of them (150 strikes since President Obama's speech last Wednesday, notes the New York Times) have halted the militants' progress, US officials tell the Journal, but the paper points out that ISIS has reacted by becoming more "stealthy." Equipment isn't moved in open convoys; electronic communications have been curtailed; tarps and foliage are increasingly used to shield militants from drones; and militants are hiding among locals. The upside is that "ISIS has not gained any land since the airstrikes started," per one official. The downside is that they may be tougher to track.

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