Coalitions and the Islamic State: It’s Not Happening

Jan. 25, 2016 Few countries are both willing and able to defeat IS and manage the aftermath.

|January 25, 2016

By George Friedman

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said over the weekend that some members of the anti-IS coalition in Iraq and Syria are doing nothing at all to help defeat the Islamic State. Carter said, “Many of them are not doing enough, or are doing nothing at all.” In a separate interview he said, “We need others to carry their weight; there should be no free riders.” The coalition consists of 65 nations.

It is hard to imagine how 65 nations could coordinate operations, let alone engage IS. Consider the challenges of trying to coordinate communications on the battlefield. Or consider, even if they were only going to provide supplies, the logistical chaos of trying to move supplies from around the world to the battlefield. All coalition partners actively engaged in war is the last thing the United States would want. Obviously Carter knows this perfectly well. However, he delivered the same message in two interviews, so he clearly intended to get the messa

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