Obama at Gulf summit to seek help against Daesh

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Obama at Gulf summit to seek help against Daesh
Barack Obama meets with Saudi King Salman at Erga Palace upon his arrival for a summit meeting in Riyadh.

Riyadh - The US will send more troops and Apache attack helicopters to Iraq.


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Published: Thu 21 Apr 2016, 8:57 AM

Last updated: Thu 21 Apr 2016, 11:06 AM

One year after receiving them at Camp David, US President Barack Obama meets Gulf leaders again on Thursday, hoping they can more strongly commit to the fight against militants.
Obama attends the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in the Saudi capital after reporting progress in recent months against the Daesh group who seized large parts of Iraq and Syria.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations belong to the US-led coalition which carries out air strikes against Daesh.
Around 4,000 American troops are in Iraq as part of that mission which trains and assists local forces fighting the militants.
The research group IHS said on Monday that Daesh had lost about 22 per cent of its territory in the past 15 months.
In a bid to accelerate gains against the militants, Defence Secretary Ashton Carter - in Riyadh with Obama - announced on Monday that the US will send more troops and Apache attack helicopters to Iraq.
Washington also wants to emphasise the reconstruction of cities taken back from Daesh.
On Wednesday, Carter pleaded for greater Gulf financial and political involvement in Iraq, which is battling an economic crisis as well as the extremists.
Carter made the comments after meeting his GCC counterparts.
"I encourage our GCC partners to do more, not only militarily as the Saudis, as the UAE have been doing... but also politically and economically," Carter said.
But Gulf leaders are offended by Obama's perceived reluctance to get involved in the region's problems, and in particular his tilt towards Iran, their rival which they accuse of widespread regional interference.
They worry that Iran will be further emboldened after the lifting this year of international sanctions against it under a US-supported international deal to curb Tehran's nuclear programme.
Obama adviser Rob Malley said it is important to settle the regional conflicts in Yemen and Syria not only because of their devastating humanitarian consequences.
Referring to Yemen, he said "the countries that have been involved in that fight, as they reach a political solution, will be able to focus more of their activities against Daesh and against Al Qaeda".
He expressed hope "that we and the GCC will be able to do more in the fight against the terrorist threat and work in even greater partnership on that."
As Obama and the GCC meet on Thursday, Yemen peace talks are to start in Kuwait, the United Nations said, after the rebels agreed to join delayed negotiations.
"In Yemen, we are keen to find a solution," the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, said, opening the GCC summit on Wednesday night.
He expressed hope the Kuwait talks "would achieve positive progress."
Al Qaeda and Daesh have exploited Yemen's chaos to strengthen their presence in the country's south.
Obama is expected to tell the Gulf leaders that Washington will not ignore "destabilising acts" of Iran.
When he hosted Gulf leaders last May as negotiators tried to finalise the Iran nuclear deal, Obama assured of an "ironclad" US security commitment to America's decades-old allies.
The White House says military cooperation has since then accelerated with Gulf states worried about the Iranian threat.
Washington has approved more than $33 billion in military equipment sales over the past year, Carter said.
Joint naval patrols and military exercises have multiplied. The two sides are also working on a common anti-missile system for the Gulf states.

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