Obama seeks $5 billion to counter Islamic State threat

Obama Administration has requested Congressional approval to $5 billion counter-terrorism fund, which was announced by the President earlier this year, to bolster capabilities of the U.S. and allies to fight the Islamic State militant group.

U.S. President Barack Obama had in May announced the $5 billion fund to help countries deal with the rising challenge of terrorism and extremism across the globe.

The move has now been accelerated in view of threat posed by the IS, the terrorist outfit which has gained control over a large part of Iraq and Syria, and brutally killed two American journalists in recent past.

“This (counter-terrorism fund) is a core component of the President’s strategy for dealing with this (IS threat) and other issues like it around the globe,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

“It can be used by the U.S. to build up effective partners, so that when the U.S. has to confront threats like this, we have well-trained, well- equipped, effective partners that we can work with to confront these problems,” Mr. Earnest said.

“We want to work closely with partners around the globe, partners who have better knowledge of the local politics, who have better knowledge of the local terrain, who in some cases can prevent some of these situations from becoming so urgent and so severe,” he said.

“That is one example of a funding request the President has made to members of Congress... that the lawmakers have talked about but not voted on. The President would certainly like to see those kinds of resources be provided because it would strengthen his hand and of future presidents to deal with urgent situations like this,” he said.

On Wednesday, Mr. Obama will announce U.S. strategy to tackle the threat posed by IS.

Obama calls new Iraqi PM to discuss IS threat

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama called Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to congratulate him on the approval of a new government and discuss its efforts to fight Islamic State militants, the White House said.

“Obama applauded the efforts of Prime Minister Abadi and other Iraqi leaders in forming a new, broad—based government, and underscored the need for the United States and Iraq to continue working closely with the international community to build on recent actions to counter the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” the White House said.

Mr. Obama, during the call, expressed his commitment to work with all communities in Iraq as well as regional and international partners to strengthen Iraq’s capabilities to fight against ISIS.

“Both the leaders agreed on the importance of having the new government quickly take concrete steps to address the aspirations and legitimate grievances of the Iraqi people,” a White House statement said, adding that they expressed their support for a strong strategic partnership between the US and Iraq.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the formation of a new government in Baghdad as “a major milestone” for Iraq.

Mr. Kerry told reporters at the State Department that the government formed in Baghdad had the potential to unite all of Iraq’s diverse communities “for a strong Iraq, a united Iraq and give those communities a chance to build a future that all Iraqis desire”.

Kerry is travelling to the region to meet leaders on the current situation in Iraq and to build the broad coalition of partners to tackle ISIS threat. So far 10 countries, including the US, has joined this coalition.

“As we build this coalition, I want to underscore that almost every single country on Earth has a role to play in eliminating the ISIL threat and the evil that it represents,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 5:57:52 AM |

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