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Foreign ministers of the anti-ISIL coalition to hold conference


Foreign ministers of the anti-ISIL coalition to hold conference

Photo: Erik De Castro / Reuters

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes will today convene a virtual ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS small group.

Founded by the US in 2014, the coalition—an 83-state partnership that oversees counter-ISIS operations—has prioritised frequent airstrikes and ground offensives against ISIS-linked posts in Iraq and Syria.

The coalition’s small group, in which 32 of the 83 member states participate, issues regular statements urging cooperation between leading coalition members and local anti-ISIS partners. However, both Syrian and Iraqi leaders have criticised the coalition for military actions they contend violate their sovereignty.

Today’s discussions will likely focus on sustaining partnerships with countries in which ISIS networks remain active. As the new Biden administration has advocated for strengthening political ties with countries including Iraq, expect Blinken to suggest extending further intelligence-gathering and capacity-building assistance to local partners. Looking ahead, expect the US to decrease its troop presence in Iraq while stepping up participation in anti-ISIS coalition airstrikes. Nevertheless, the coalition’s local partners are likely to find continuing to engage with it politically difficult over time, and such cooperation may ultimately cost local leaders the ability to work with necessary subnational groups.

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