US Preparing ‘Coalition of the Weird’ in Middle East: Former NSC Iraq Director

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The American strategy of cooperating with Middle East regional powers and non-state actors in addressing the Islamic State (IS) threat will be a “coalition of the weird”, according to Douglas Ollivant, former Director for Iraq at the US National Security Council (NSC).

“We should expect to see in Iraq a “coalition of weird,” Ollivant said, quoting another specialist at a Friday discussion at the Center for American Progress.

On Thursday, it was announced that Gulf Cooperation Council members, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, together with Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon agreed to join the US-led coalition aimed at defeating the IS militant group.

“This is going to be done out of tactical necessity, not ideological affinity. At the same time, we have to be aware that while there is a tactical necessity, we need to be very, very aware of the politics,” Ollivant said, noting that “there’s going to be political and military tension constantly as we work through this.”

On September 10, US President Barack Obama announced plans to defeat the IS. He said Washington would be extending its airstrikes from Iraq to Syria and would provide support, equipment and training to Kurdish and Iraqi forces and Syria’s opposition in order to respond to the threat.

The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq and seized vast areas in both countries, proclaiming an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.

Source: RIA Novosti