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Carter Calls for More Global Cooperation to Defeat ISIL

By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2015 — More nations must “get in the game militarily” to hasten destruction of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters on Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, today.

The secretary also said he was grateful to Germany, Spain, Qatar, and host nation Turkey for their recently added armed forces to the campaign.

“The Turks, in addition to hosting us here, are taking some action along their border and in internal security,” Carter said. "We welcome the additional steps the Turks have taken recently … and we're asking them to take more, to do more, even as we're asking ourselves to do more."

The secretary echoed President Barack Obama’s message from the Pentagon yesterday to intensify and accelerate ISIL’s defeat, adding that the terror group must be fought not only in Iraq and Syria, but also around the globe.

Law enforcement agencies, the Homeland Security Department and various U.S. government entities are involved in what Carter called “the inevitable defeat of this threat to civilization.”

Russia Must Contribute

And while help from other nations, combined with more assistance from the U.S.-led coalition is being brought against ISIL, the secretary said Russia is one country that is “not yet working in the right direction.”

“Russia got off on the wrong foot,” Carter added. “Instead of combating ISIL, [Russia] was combating the opposition, which needs to be part of the Syrian political future after a political transition.”

The Russians must contribute to the transition and not impede it, he said, adding Russia should join the fight against ISIL.

“Because they're off on the wrong foot, we can't associate ourselves with Russian strategy until it changes,” Carter said.

With Secretary of State John Kerry in Moscow today in meetings to try to get the Russians “from where they've started in this campaign to a place where they can make a more positive contribution,” Carter said it’s also important for Russia to not get in the way of coalition operations.

“That is why we negotiated a memorandum of understanding [to] … have professionalism in the air,” Carter said.

“That is why we're concerned about [Russians] supplying the Syrian regime with equipment it doesn't need,” while not joining the fight to destroy ISIL, he added.

Islamic Alliance Against Terror

“We're not going to have any impediments to the conduct of our campaign against ISIL, Carter said.

The secretary said today’s announcement by Saudi Arabia to form a 34-state Islamic alliance against terrorism “appears [to be] very much aligned with something that we have been urging for quite some time, which is greater involvement in the campaign to combat ISIL by Sunni-Arab countries.”

A Saudi-led coalition in the region would have the ability “to promote what we know is necessary in the long run for the defeat of ISIL in Iraq and in Syria,” Carter said, “which is the replacement of their tyrannical rule with local rule that gives a decent life back to people.”

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)