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    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg delivers a speech on European defence and transatlantic security at the German Marshall Fund think-tank in Brussels, Belgium, November 18, 2016.

    NATO Chief Sends 'Empty' Political Message in Vow to Join Anti-Daesh Coalition

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    NATO’s decision to join the US-led coalition against Daesh terrorist group (banned in Russia) without taking part in combat operations sends a political message that is empty and meaningless, analysts told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Thursday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a briefing that the alliance will join the US-led coalition to defeat Daesh, which will consist of air-to-air refueling and intelligence sharing, but not deploying ground troops.

    "It will send a ‘strong political message’ that NATO is still in the business of sending ‘strong political messages,’" retired Canadian diplomat Patrick Armstrong said.

    Armstrong also noted that Stoltenberg’s statement was undermined the same day by President Donald Trump’s unprecedented public criticism and "drubbing" of other nations for not fulfilling their military and financial obligations at the same Brussels summit that both men attended.

    University of Rhode Island Professor of Peace Studies and Non-Violence Nicolai Petro told Sputnik NATO lacked the military strength and political influence to make any significant contribution to the ongoing struggle to destroy Daesh.

    "If NATO had any contribution to make to the resolution of the Syrian conflict, it would have already made it," he said.

    Stoltenberg was speaking from weakness, not strength and his comments revealed a very weak and badly divided alliance, Petro observed.

    "This is a purely rhetorical statement of support, far short of the commitment that the Trump administration had hoped for, but already a strain on European unity. Stoltenberg's explicit disavowal of combat operations speaks volumes," he said.

    In his comments, Stoltenberg claimed NATO membership in the anti-Daesh coalition would send a strong political message of alliance commitment to the fight against terrorism.

    Later in his briefing, Stoltenberg said NATO's expanded role would provide a coordinating platform among member states in addition to displaying what he described as a strong political message of unity.


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