Top Intelligence Dem: NATO should do more to fight ISIS

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The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee is calling for NATO to do more in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) writes that NATO should invoke its mutual self-defense clause so the whole alliance gets involved in the fight.

“As Islamic State shifts its strategy, the U.S. and its allies should as well,” she wrote. “The time has come for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to invoke its self-defense clause so the full weight of the alliance is brought to bear against Islamic State, also known as ISIS.”

The only time in its history NATO has invoked the clause, known as Article 5, was after Sept. 11, 2001.

NATO’s role fighting terrorism has come into the spotlight over the past year, particularly as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has attacked the alliance as obsolete and ill-equipped to fight terrorism, a charge NATO and U.S. officials have rejected.

In addition to the United States, seven NATO members are currently directly attacking ISIS as part of the U.S.-led coalition, Feinstein said. They are Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Other NATO countries could provide special operations forces, attack aircraft and surveillance assets to the fight, Feinstein said.

She also proposed a NATO “rapid-reaction force.”

“Creating a NATO rapid-reaction force to serve as an attack force against Islamic State would make a major impact,” she wrote. “NATO countries have advanced capabilities in intelligence, airpower, special operations and other areas that are required to combat terrorists. Bringing the many resources of NATO nations to bear in the fight against Islamic State—and taking the fight to Iraq and Syria—would help to eliminate ISIS safe havens and to stanch the flow of refugees into Turkey and Europe.”

Though the coalition has had success retaking territory from ISIS, Feinstein wrote, the terrorist group remains a threat to the West.

“As the terrorist organization continues to lose ground in Iraq and Syria, it is focusing more on spreading terror abroad,” she wrote.

The current U.S. strategy of airstrikes and limited assistance on the ground is not enough to defeat ISIS, she added.

“Americans don’t want another prolonged war with thousands of service members deployed in combat operations, but the U.S.’s current strategy of airstrikes and limited assistance to on-the-ground partners isn’t enough to defeat the terrorists,” she wrote.

“It is now time to recognize that an increased U.S. presence, acting with NATO countries and other partners, could enhance the effort to eliminate Islamic State.”

Tags Dianne Feinstein Donald Trump

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