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Spotlight: White House under bipartisan pressure to deal with IS, Germany, Australia to arm Kurds

English.news.cn   2014-09-01 15:53:23

BEIJING, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- The White House is under bipartisan pressure to work on a strategy to tackle growing threats from the Islamic State (IS) while Germany and Australia decided to supply weapons to Iraq's Kurdish fighters against IS forces.

"It shows -- I think exemplifies -- that (the president's) foreign policy is in absolute free-fall," Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who heads the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News on Sunday.

Rogers was referring to President Barack Obama's announcement earlier this week that he still had no strategy to deal with the IS militants, though his administration says it was working toward one.

In another TV interview Sunday, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Obama is "too cautious" in his approach to combatting the IS group.

The lawmakers' remarks reflected growing concerns about increasing threats posed by the IS. The group has in recent weeks been on the move in Iraq, overrunning vast swaths of territory in the country's north as the militants go on a killing spree.

While Kurdish fighters backed by U.S. air power have had some successes against the Islamic radicals, they remain unchecked in neighboring Syria, though Obama has now authorized the use of drones there.

The IS poses a major problem for the United States, which aims to keep terrorism in check a decade after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. The militants' territorial gains have Washington worried that its ultimate nightmare could come true -- that the group could carve out a haven in Iraq or Syria and use it as a staging ground for attacks against the United States, much as al-Qaida did in Afghanistan.

Besides, there are growing fears that individuals with U.S. passports could re-enter undetected in a bid to attack the homeland.

According to Rogers, hundreds of U.S. citizens had received training with the IS at least once, in addition to an estimated 500 British citizens and hundreds more from Canada, with their passports essentially allowing them "free travel" to the United States to carry out extremist attacks.

Rogers said any attack by the IS on the United States would be a major event, echoing a number of analysts who believe the group would hit the U.S. on a level not seen since the Sept. 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Obama will confer with allies in Europe this week in an effort to get them on board with some sort of strategy to thwart the threat posed by the IS.

Meanwhile, Germany decided Sunday to send 16,000 assault rifles, 40 machine guns, 240 bazookas, 500 anti-tank missiles and 10,000 hand grenades to the Kurds in northern Iraq to support the fight against the IS, a statement from the German defence ministry said.

The German government will use the weapons, in a total value of around 70 million euros (about 91.8 million U.S. dollars), to firstly upgrade a Kurdish fighters association which has approximately 4,000 people, according to German media Spiegel Online.

Australia will also take part in arming Kurdish fighters.

"The U.S. government has requested that Australia help to transport stores of military equipment, including arms and munitions, as part of a multi-nation effort," Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a statement.

"Royal Australian Air Force C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster aircraft will join aircraft from other nations including Canada, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and the United States to conduct this important task," Abbott added.

The prime minister said it may also include "possible military involvement down the track," but there was no decision to deploy Australian troops on the ground.

Editor: Shen Qing
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