Arab nations offer air support in ISIS fight

The Obama administration indicated a number of Arab nations have signed on to conduct airstrikes along with the United States to target the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to reports Monday. 

State Department officials have not named the countries that offered support, and they cautioned that any plans would have to be approved by the Iraqi government as well as the United States, which has launched more than 150 strikes in Iraq and authorized expanded strikes in Syria.  

Officials noted that much of the planning is still in the “discussion phase,” according to The Washington Post.  


On the Sunday shows, Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryEquilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Clean power repurposes dirty power No. 2 State Department official to travel to China amid tensions US and Germany launch climate partnership MORE said a number of other countries are prepared to "engage in military assistance, in actual strikes if that is what it requires."

He said it would not be appropriate, however, to outline each country's commitment. He specifically ruled out coordinating strikes with the Syrian government. 

Officials said coordinated airstrikes would be a complicated situation that would have to be closely coordinated. 

“I don’t want to leave you with the impression that these Arab members haven’t offered to do airstrikes, because several of them have,” one State Department official said, according to The New York Times. “The Iraqis would have to be a major participant in that decision. It has to be well structured and organized.”

News reports have noted the United Arab Emirates seems to be a candidate, after flying missions along with NATO forces during strikes in Libya in 2011. 


Over the weekend, ISIS released a third video showing the beheading of a Westerner, British aid worker David Haines. Previous videos showing the beheading of two U.S. journalists have galvanized support in the United States for an expanded campaign against the terrorist group.  

President Obama, in a speech last week, vowed to destroy the group, announcing plans to expand the air campaign and begin arming and training vetted Syrian rebels, with help from allies. 

"What we want to make sure happens is that we have committed partners who can take the fight to ISIL on the ground," White House chief of staff Denis McDonoughDenis Richard McDonoughThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Crunch time for bipartisan plan; first Jan. 6 hearing today Overnight Defense: Biden says US combat mission in Iraq wrapping by year's end | Civilian casualties in Afghanistan peak amid US exit | VA mandates COVID-19 vaccine for health workers Overnight Health Care: New round of vaccine mandates | Health groups call for mandates for all health workers | Rising case count reignites debate over restrictions MORE said Sunday. "And they will have not only support from us from the air, but they'll also have training and equipment support from us."