Secretary of State John Kerry has tried to downplay growing concerns about the lack of commitment coming from members of President Obama’s new anti-ISIS coalition in actually doing anything beyond attending anti-ISIS conferences.
Kerry insisted it was not only “premature” to talk about what, if anything, the coalition allies will do, but was even “inappropriate” of people to be talking about how little commitment many of the members seem to have.
Kerry claimed the back of 10 Arab nations for the war, but as with coalition members from Europe, the backing is a mile wide an an inch deep, and none of them seems to be talking about taking any specific actions, beyond what they’ve already done in bankrolling various Syrian rebel factions.
Everyone pledged to nominally back the campaign “as appropriate,” but the only nation in the Middle East that’s even talked about actions was Turkey, which did so in the context of ruling out any military involvement.
At this point, France is the only nation of the massive coalition committed to join the air war, and many are saying they don’t want anything to do with the air campaign. As talk of a ground war grows, the US seems to be entirely on its own.
Despite the mostly phantom nature of the coalition, the administration has spurned cooperation with the two nations already involved in fighting ISIS, Syria and Iran, for fear that this will hurt their chances of securing the do-nothing backing of the Saudis and other GCC states.
Ultimately, it seems the US is going to great lengths to sell the fiction of a coalition to the war-weary American public, with the hopes that they can be convinced the latest war is to be fought by many nations. Just don’t expect them to fight very hard.