NEW YORK, October 1 (RIA Novosti) – Members of the international coalition formed by the United States to address the Islamic State (IS) threat lack the will to provide the necessary ground forces to dislodge IS militants, Julien Barnes-Dacey, analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told RIA Novosti Wednesday.
"It's a big coalition, but I don't think members have committed to significant involvement. [US President Barack] Obama was keen to gain legitimacy by having Arab states involved. But you won't see Arab states flying daily combat missions. They have provided political legitimacy rather than military assistance," Barnes-Dacey noted.
"Air strikes alone will help to contain but not to defeat [the] IS, which is embedded across Syria with significant resources and fighting numbers. This needs fighters on the ground; the West and Gulf states won't put people there," the analyst said.
The IS jihadist group, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June, it launched an offensive in northern and western Iraq.
In August, the United States started launching airstrikes against IS positions in northern Iraq. Last week, the attacks were extended to Syria, with France and Pentagon's Arab allies taking part.
Britain joined the air campaign Tuesday, carrying out its first strikes against IS extremists in Iraq, though it does not plan to expand its operation into Syria.
US President Barack Obama says the IS can be eradicated by US-led airstrikes and ground forces consisting of US-armed Kurds, Iraqis and moderate elements of Syria's opposition. Critics say Washington lacks reliable allies, is over-reliant on air-power and has no strategy for ending Syria's civil war.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.