Obama taps new czar for ISIS fight

Obama taps new czar for ISIS fight
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President Obama is tapping a new official to help oversee the multinational coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Retired Marine Gen. John Allen is stepping down as envoy and will be replaced by diplomat Brett McGurk.

"I offer my profound gratitude to General John Allen as he prepares to depart his role of Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL next month," Obama said in a statement Friday, using an alternative acronym for ISIS. 


Allen, a retired four-star general, was on the job for 13 months, helping to put together a coalition of more than 60 nations against ISIS. His departure was anticipated and at his decision. 

"I gave him an enormously complex assignment: to build from conception a robust international coalition that would undertake a wide range of political, diplomatic, military, economic and other efforts to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL," Obama said.  

"General Allen has met that challenge with tremendous ability and courage."

Obama called McGurk, Allen's deputy, "one of my most trusted advisers on Iraq." His promotion was first reported by Foreign Policy on Thursday. 

"Brett has my full support as he continues broadening and deepening our Coalition efforts to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL," he said. 

Obama also said he asked McGurk to work closely with his national security team to strengthen the U.S. partnership with Iraq and to work "intensively with regional partners to bring an end to the civil war in Syria, which continues to fuel ISIL and other extremist groups." 

Allen reportedly clashed with the U.S. military during his tenure over the direction of the anti-ISIS campaign. Reports suggested he lacked authority over the war due to his position at the State Department versus the White House.