Pentagon chief chairs war council in Kuwait
New Pentagon chief Ashton Carter vowed “lasting defeat” against ISIL as he convened an extraordinary war council in Kuwait to discuss the administration’s strategy against the Takfiri terrorist group.
Only days after taking office, Carter summoned a meeting of more than two dozen military commanders, diplomats and intelligence officials at the sprawling US Army base of Camp Arifjan.
He flew to Kuwait from Afghanistan to chair the council on Monday.
The defense secretary told American troops before the talks that the US and its allies were pressing ISIL “very ably from Kuwait and elsewhere.”
“And we will deliver lasting defeat, make no doubt,” he added.
US President Barack Obama’s strategy against ISIL has been widely criticized as it has failed to halt the advance of the brutal militancy in territories under its control.
Carter, how took over from Chuck Hagel last week, said he had summoned top generals and diplomats “to sit around one table and talk about all of the dimensions of this campaign.”
The new Pentagon chief said he needed a better understanding of the Obama administration’s approach to the ISIL group which is “spreading echoes and reflections around the world.”
The council would discuss not just the military campaign in Iraq and Syria, where a US-led coalition has carried out thousandths of airstrikes on ISIL targets, but the wider regional campaign against the terror organization, Carter said.
“ISIL is not just a threat to Iraq and Syria. It’s a larger threat to the region,” he stated.
Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of the US military’s Central Command, presidential envoys John Allen and Brett McGurk, the commanders of US forces in Europe and Africa, as well as US ambassadors to Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Arab nations participated in the six-hour closed-door meeting.
Last week, US military officials publicly outlined details of their plans for a spring offensive against ISIL.
The offensive’s main objective is to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, as early as April.
However, many within the Pentagon privately questioned whether the plan might work.
“I really doubt it is going to happen that soon,” one military officer told The Daily Beast Friday on condition of anonymity. “And if it does, it will take months.”