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Saudi Arabia 'Full Partner' in Fight Against ISIS

Kingdom to arm, train militant group's foes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2014 5:04 AM CDT
Saudi Arabia 'Full Partner' in Fight Against ISIS
ISIS fighters drive over the Iraq-Syria border earlier this year.   (AP Photo/albaraka_news, FIle)

(Newser) – Islamic state versus Islamic State: Saudi Arabia has agreed to help step up the fight against ISIS and will host a training camp for moderate Syrian rebels fighting the extremists as well as the Syrian regime, reports the New York Times. A senior Obama administration official says details are still being worked out, but the country has agreed to be a "full partner in this effort," which is part of a broad anti-ISIS strategy involving a US-led coalition that the president outlined last night. John Kerry is due to arrive in Saudi Arabia this morning for strategy talks that will also involve Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and Lebanon.

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But while Saudi Arabia fears the influence of ISIS, the kingdom's critics note that leading Saudi Arabian clerics preach the same intolerance against Shias and other religious minorities that ISIS practices, Reuters reports. Saudi Arabia is also governed by Islamic law—and has beheaded at least 20 people in the last month alone. The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition, meanwhile, says it is "ready and willing" to join the international coalition against ISIS, the AP reports, but the leading opposition group also says the battle to remove the Assad regime must continue. (Read more ISIS stories.)

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