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Thu 25 Sep 2014 10:32 AM

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Who’s who in the fight against ISIL

Arab states line up behind US in fight against Islamic State

Who’s who in the fight against ISIL
(Photo for illustrative purposes onlly)

US warplanes pounded Islamic State fighters in Syria and
Iraq for a second day on Wednesday as President Barack Obama tried to rally
support for the coalition fighting the extremist group during an address to the
UN General Assembly in New York.

US Central Command said Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates and Qatar had participated in or supported strikes against
Islamic State targets during the opening day of the campaign on Tuesday.

Below is a summary of where key countries stand on joining
the United States in a military coalition to fight Islamic State:


France carried out its first air strike in Iraq on Sept. 19,
targeting an Islamic State logistics depot near Mosul. It has since carried out
reconnaissance missions and supported Iraqi ground troops near Baghdad,
although it has not re-engaged. French special forces are already training
Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the north after providing weapons to the Kurds.

France continues to rule out air strikes in Syria, fearing
that it could change the balance of power on the ground in favour of President
Bashar al-Assad, who Paris says is as much of a problem as Islamic State.


Australia has decided to send eight F-18 Super Hornet
fighter jets to assist in the US-led air campaign against Islamic State
fighters in Iraq. Australia also has agreed to send special forces troops to
act as advisers to Iraqi forces.


British Prime Minister David Cameron has asked for
Parliament to be recalled so it can vote on Friday on whether to join the
US-led air strikes against Islamic State. The move came after Iraq asked
Britain to support coalition operations against the group.

Britain already has delivered aid and weapons to Kurds in
Iraq and promised them training. Britain has said any strikes in Syria would be
more complicated because they could not be carried out in cooperation with
Assad's government.


Brussels is inclined to contribute to coalition efforts
against Islamic State and officials say they have the military capacity to do
so. Belgium has been contributing humanitarian assistance. But with jihadists
from the Belgium joining Islamic State, Belgian officials say it is in their
interest to participate in coalition efforts to halt its spread.


The Dutch government said on Wednesday it would deploy six
F-16 fighters and as many as 380 military personnel to support the US-led fight
against Islamic State insurgents in Iraq. Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk
Asscher told reporters the planes would be used to target Islamist militants in
Iraq and the personnel would provide training and advice to Iraqi and Kurdish
regional military forces for up to one year.


Turkey, a NATO member and close US ally that borders both
Iraq and Syria, had initially ruled out taking part in the military effort
against Islamic State, but President Tayyip Erdogan indicated a shift in
position on Tuesday, saying Ankara would provide military or logistical

The change came after IS fighters freed 46 Turkish nationals
who were held hostage.

Turkey has felt a direct impact as a result of Islamic
State's ruthless assaults in Syria. More than 130,000 Syrian Kurds have surged
across its border in the past week, fleeing an IS advance on the town of


The West deems Arab participation in the fight against
Islamic State crucial to counter accusations that it is pursuing a new Western
crusade against Islam in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Bahrain
all took part in Monday night's air strikes, while Qatar played a supporting
role, the US official said.

Saudi Arabia had already agreed to host US training of
"moderate" Syrian opposition fighters.

Lebanon has joined the coalition politically. Foreign
Minister Gebran Bassil says Beirut already is in a fight with Islamic State
extremists on its own territory and is seeking military equipment from foreign
countries to help it repel them.


President Vladimir Putin told UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon on Monday that air strikes on Islamic State bases inside Syria
"should not be carried out without the agreement of the government of
Syria." The Russian Foreign Ministry said this meant securing explicit
consent, rather than merely notifying Damascus.

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