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Coalition against ISIL

Doubt about what the Coalition against so-called Islamic State (ISIL, also known as Daesh) can and will do has been cast by Dr Karin von Hippel, Director-General of the defence and security think-tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). She was speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Friday, December 16 ahead of a quarterly meeting of defence ministers in London, including UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon and US Defense Secretary Ash Carter met in London.

The two men signed an agreement to allow US Marine Corps F-35B aircraft to fly from the UK’s new Queen Elizabeth class carrier.

Speaking on Radio 4, Dr von Hippel suggested that once President-elect Trump learns what is involved in the complex Coalition campaign, ‘he will probably double down on what is already under way’. She pointed to ISIL affiliates in Pakistan and south-east Asia (see separate article on the RUSI website) who have been declaring allegiance to ISIL, and who can cause significant damage; besides attacks directed from the ISIL caliphate, such as against Paris in November 2015 and Brussels in 2016; and ‘ISIL-inspired attacks’.

She said: “The Coalition has not been able to come up with a good campaign plan to manage all that. That is just floating in the wind a bit.” She doubted if Trump as US President would be ‘that interested in that’.

She served as Chief of Staff to General John Allen, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter-ISIL; and was among the speakers at the Security Institute’s annual conference, in London in September 2016.

To listen to Dr von Hippel, visit the RUSI website: https://rusi.org/in-the-news/daesh-and-aleppo.

Sir Michael Fallon said: “Daesh is being taken on in Eastern Mosul: last week we opened up a second front around Raqqa. Daesh is losing ground, finance and fighters. As part of the 68 member Coalition, Britain is playing a leading role, through our airstrikes, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and our training. In 2017 we must maintain momentum to deal these terrorists a decisive blow.”

Sir Michael Fallon meanwhile confirmed an extension by six months of a deployment of a squadron of Royal Engineers, working at a training facility at Al Asad airbase in Iraq. He said: “As Britain’s pre-eminent operational partner, including in our current fight against Daesh, the inter-operability of British and American forces is crucial. Having British and US F35s alongside each other aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth on its first operational tour, will further cement our close defence ties as Britain steps up internationally. Britain and America’s longstanding defence and intelligence sharing epitomises the special relationship that helps keeps both our nations safer and more secure.”


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