US seeks Coalition meeting on ISIS threat in West Africa and the Sahel

US wants to “maintain and intensify pressure on ISIS branches and networks outside the core’

Ministers from the Global Coalition Against ISIS meet in Washington, DC, November 14, 2019.

The United States is seeking a meeting of the Global Coalition Against ISIS early in 2020 that will focus on threats in West Africa and the Sahel, a senior official said on Thursday, November 14.

Speaking at a press conference following a ministerial-level meeting of the Coalition in Washington, Ambassador Nathan Sales, who leads the U.S. State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau, pointed to successes against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, but warned that the threat from ISIS affiliates around the world remains.

Nathan Sales

Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, US State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism, with General Raymond A. Thomas III, US Special Operations Command commander, December 6, 2018. Image: Master Sgt. Barry Loo

“We celebrate our extraordinary success in the complete destruction of the so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq and the elimination of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” Sales said. “Millions of people have been liberated from ISIS’s brutal rule.”

“The false caliphate is gone, but the global threat from ISIS remains,” he added.

Sales said that the ministers discussed “the need to maintain and intensify pressure on ISIS branches and networks outside the core.”

“In this phase of our fight, we need to complement our military capabilities with civilian counterterrorism tools, including law enforcement, border security, information sharing, sanctions, and counter-messaging,” Sales said. “Toward that end, we are working to organize a Coalition meeting in early 2020 that will focus on the ISIS threat in West Africa and the Sahel.”

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