Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Obama's Global Plan to Target Islamic State Foreign Fighters

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Obama's Global Plan to Target Islamic State Foreign Fighters

Article excerpt

The Obama administration wants to enlist the world in efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters to international terrorist organizations like the Islamic State (IS) - with President Obama to host a meeting of world leaders on the issue later this month.

According to Samantha Power, US ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Obama will take advantage of the large gathering of world leaders at the annual September opening of the UN General Assembly in New York to call a Security Council "summit" on the issue.

Together with Secretary of State John Kerry's travel to the Middle East next week to begin building a regional coalition to address the challenge posed by IS (also known by ISIS or ISIL), Obama's Sept. 25 summit underscores the importance that the United States is placing on making the issue a worldwide priority.

"It will not suffice" if just the US and the few partners that have joined in striking at IS in Iraq address the threat of foreign terrorist fighters, Ambassador Power said Wednesday. "We need all hands on deck."

Power, speaking Wednesday with journalists at UN headquarters, said the US anticipates the outcome of the special Security Council session will be a resolution that guides UN member states in efforts to deter foreign fighter travel and their financing. The resolution could also guide intelligence-sharing efforts to keep track of where foreigners go to fight and if they seek to return home.

The Security Council last month approved a British-sponsored resolution on the problem of foreign fighters, and the US initiative would seek to build on that initial effort, Power said. Terrorism experts estimate that perhaps 140 Americans have gone to fight with IS, but that a much larger number of Europeans, at least several thousand, have left home to join the cause.

The resolution the US envisages would "strengthen the ability of governments around the world to curb the flow of their citizens into war zones," she said, while also taking actions aimed at "outpacing the ability of foreign terrorist fighters to take advantage of [global] systems" facilitating travel and communication. …

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