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Coalition battling Islamic State promises 'enduring defeat' of jihadist terrorism

By Michael Fitzpatrick - RFI
Morocco ZUMA PRESSMAXPPP
MAY 13, 2022 LISTEN
ZUMA PRESSMAXPPP

The global coalition against the Islamic State group met this week in Morocco to coordinate efforts to prevent the jihadists staging a revival in the Middle East and North Africa.

This was the first time the coalition's yearly ministerial summit took place on African soil.

US representative, Victoria Nuland, filling in for Secretary of State Antony Blinken who tested positive for Covid, said America was committed to the "enduring defeat" of the jihadist group.

"Over the last several years, Islamic State has been considerably weakened in Iraq and Syria, but it remains a threat, seeking any opportunity to reconstitute itself," she said.

Co-hosting the summit with the United States, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, said the threat posed by IS had "not diminished" and that the coalition sought to raise $700 million for "stabilisation activities" in parts of Iraq and Syria formerly held by the group.

The discussions also considered strategic communication to combat the islamist group's "radicalisation propaganda" and the battle to cntrol the activities of former fighters returning from the middle eastern battlegrounds, the Moroccan Foreign Ministry said.

Danger remains despite defeat of caliphate

The Global Coalition against Islamic State was formed in 2014 after the militants seized huge swathes of Iraq and Syria, attempting to establish a so-called "caliphate" run on strict sharia principles.

The coalition now includes 84 states and international organisations.

Since the defeat of the caliphate three years ago, jihadists have attempted to bolster their presence in the Sahel region and in West Africa.

Nasser Bourita told delegates that 1.4 million people in the two regions had been displaced due to conflict, and that the number of  "terrorist incidents" was on the rise.

IS still poses a worldwide threat

Officials have long warned that IS still poses a worldwide threat despite its loss of a territorial base.

In January, IS fighters launched their biggest assault in years, a prison break in the Kurdish-controlled northeast Syrian city of Hasakeh, sparking a week of intense fighting that left hundreds dead.

Nuland called that attack "a reminder of their intent and a wake-up call about how untenable the situation is in north-east Syria".

There have more recently been terrorist attacks in Egypt's Sinai, and also in Togo, where local troops are attempting to contain a jihadist threat pushing south from Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

IS has vowed to take vengeance for the death of its elusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who blew himself up during a US raid in northern Syria in late 2019.

It has also urged its supporters to take advantage of the war in Ukraine to carry out attacks in Europe.

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