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    US. army soldiers stand next a military vehicle in the town of Bartella, east of Mosul, Iraq, December 27, 2016

    Why US 'Should Change Its Iraq and Syria-Centered Strategy' Against Daesh

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    The US-led military coalition should expand the geographical scope of its current approach to tackling Daesh since the brutal group's presence is no longer limited to Iraq and Syria, Dr. Rohan Gunaratna told Radio Sputnik.

    Washington's "strategy against Daesh has been largely Iraq- and Syria-centered," he said. "I believe that strategy should [be replaced by] a broader the strategy because Daesh has spread from the heartland of Syria and Iraq. The group has created branches in Africa, Asia and other parts of the Middle East, as well as the Caucasus. Daesh has expanded into Western nations. Today the response against Daesh must be much more global than when it was originally crafted."

    The anti-Daesh coalition was created in August 2014 after the massacre of thousands of Yazidis in an around the Iraqi city of Sinjar. A month later, Washington expanded its aerial campaign into Syria.

    "This is a major fight. This is like another world war because Daesh recruited fighters from 120 countries. Sixty-eight countries participated in the summit [of the US-led military coalition]. So we need other countries to come on board, at least as development and aid partners to win this fight," the analyst observed. "Unless we bring more countries on board, unless there are more resources on board, Daesh will continue to pose a persistent threat to the stability and security of the world."

    These comments came after Washington hosted 68 nations taking part in the US-led coalition against Daesh in what was the first such meeting since Donald Trump came to power. The Trump administration has named the fight against Islamist militants as a high priority. In what served as a testament to this goal, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pledged that the US would "increase our pressure" on Daesh and al-Qaeda in his address to the meeting.

    Dr. Rohan Gunaratna, who heads the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Nanyang Technological University, further hailed Russia for its counterterrorism in the Middle East.

    "When it comes to fighting Daesh, I want to say that Russia has made an unparalleled contribution. If not for the Russian campaign, Daesh would have had more power and more resources. The Russian bombing and targeting was very effective," he said.

    Dr. Rohan Gunaratna also praised Iran and its local allies, as well as Hezbollah for their anti-Daesh operations.

    "I believe that there are more partners in the fight against terrorism and gradually the American contribution will diminish and more European, Middle Eastern and even Asian countries will participate in addition to the large contribution the Russians have made," he said.

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    counterterrorism, US-led coalition, Russian aerial campaign, Syrian conflict, Syrian crisis, Daesh, Syria, Iraq, United States, Russia
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