An international coalition took shape in Paris on Monday, with 29 countries coming together against the ISIS (Islamic State Syria and the Levant).
Monday's conference came just a day after ISIS released a video of the beheading of a British aid worker, 44-year-old David Haines. He was the third Western hostage to be killed by the militant group. Earlier, two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, were also killed by the ISIS.
French President François Hollande said Iraqi territory was not the sole territory affected and called for a “global response” to what he said was a “global problem”.
All countries agreed in principle on the use of “whatever means necessary” whether military, financial or humanitarian. Prior to the hosting the conference, France had agreed to conduct air strikes “if necessary" and two Rafale jets had flown over Iraq from Abu Dhabi for reconnaissance missions on Monday morning.
Spelling out the broad ideas world leaders agreed to on Monday, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said, “The Daesh (ISIS) movement is neither a state nor is it representative of Islam. It’s an extremely dangerous movement that should be pushed back and destroyed”. The delegates pledged full support to the Iraqi government led by President Fuad Masum who said the terrorists were using new strategies to perpetrate “massacres and crimes that should be considered genocide”.
President Hollande made an appeal to the international community to find a sustainable solution for Syria where, he pointed out, the militant group was “born” and where the 3-year-old crisis has led to 200,000 dead. Hollande said Lebanon’s sovereignty was also under threat and it had already received 2 million Syrian refugees. He confirmed that France and Saudi Arabia had agreed to help Lebanon by beefing up its army’s capabilities.
The recruitment of fighters from 51 countries across the globe, including Europe, was spoken of as a major challenge. It was emphasised that the threat is not just to the countries that are under direct attack but also to the Middle East, Europe and the rest of the world.
However, several difficult questions were left unanswered. ISIS is holding 49 Turkish hostages, which is why Turkey, that shares a long border with Iraq and Syria, has refused the use of its air bases for strikes. The US kept Iran out of the Paris conference nor does it want the country to participate in the coalition. But Iran shares nearly 1500 kilometres of its border with Iraq. It’s also not clear if air strikes in Syria will be conducted and who would be in control once the mission will reach an end.
World Leaders on ISIS
Barack Obama, US President
“We Will Degrade and Destroy ISIL.”
“To meet a threat like this, we have to be smart. We have to use our power wisely. And we have to avoid the mistakes of the past.”
“What’s needed now is a targeted, relentless counterterrorism campaign against ISIL that combines American air power, contributions from allies and partners, and more support to forces that are fighting these terrorists on the ground.”
David Cameron, UK Prime Minister
"It is an act of pure evil. My heart goes out to the family of David Haines who have shown extraordinary courage and fortitude throughout this ordeal.”
"They boast of their brutality; they claim to do this in the name of Islam. That is nonsense. Islam is a religion of peace. They are not Muslims, they are monsters.”
"We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes,"
Francois Hollande, French President
“Iraq’s fight against terrorism is also ours….And there is no time to lose”
“This terrorist movement calls on combatants from the entire world, and each country, including my own, is concerned. We should do everything to fight against the indoctrination of our young people, prevent their enrolment, break their jihadist networks, deprive Daech (ISIS) of it’s resources and punish all those associated with them, whether far or close.”
Fuad Masum, Iraqi President
Daesh (ISIS) are “blood thirsty”
“Daesh thinking is simply this: either you are with us or we will kill you”
“These criminals are experts at the brainwashing of young people in these regions. They control and prepare them for terrorist actions. They use modern technology to spread propaganda and terror through the internet and social media networks.”