Today, the U.S. Department of State hosted the first full Meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition on the Defeat of ISIS since 2014. Today’s Ministerial was an opportunity for Coalition members to review and redouble current efforts to reduce the threat ISIS poses to international security and our homelands.
In his remarks before Coalition partners, U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson reaffirmed that the goal of the Coalition remains to defeat ISIS. Secretary Tillerson outlined how the Coalition’s military campaign in coordination with civilian stabilization and normalization efforts in Iraq and Syria will lead to the destruction of this barbaric terrorist organization.
The 68-member Global Coalition is the largest international coalition in history, and is joined together in common cause to reduce the threat ISIS poses to international security through civilian and military efforts. Coalition members are working collectively to defeat ISIS with a robust approach to military operations, supporting the stabilization of territory liberated from ISIS, and normalizing these regions by engaging in broad-based civilian efforts with local partners and leaders that provides humanitarian aid to communities suffering from displacement and conflict.
THE MILITARY CAMPAIGN
The Coalition has made significant progress in denying ISIS safe haven and building the military capacity of those directly engaged in the fight against ISIS. Coalition operations have liberated 62 percent of the territories ISIS once controlled in Iraq and 30 percent in Syria. The number of ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria is at its lowest level since the group declared its “caliphate,” down by more than half since its peak in 2014. The Coalition is now pressuring ISIS in Raqqa, its external operations headquarters, from where ISIS is plotting against Coalition member interests around the globe.
The Coalition has also supported our Iraqi partners to achieve significant progress in the fight to retake Mosul. To date, Coalition efforts have trained nearly 90,000 Iraqi Security Forces members, and Coalition members have donated some 8,200 tons of military equipment to our Iraqi and local Syrian partners in the fight against ISIS. As part of the training efforts in Syria, the Coalition has helped train thousands of Syrians who have joined the fight to defeat ISIS.
The Coalition is not just committed to the defeat of ISIS but also guarding against a resurgence in the future; as such the support for stabilization efforts is a strategic investment in the fight against ISIS. Coalition support for stabilization programs is crucial as we seek to hold terrain taken from ISIS and provide for people in liberated areas. A successful stabilization period will improve daily life for millions of people
Since 2014, Coalition members have provided more than $22.2 billion in stabilization, demining capabilities, economic support, and humanitarian assistance in Iraq and Syria. Last July, at the Iraq Pledging Conference held in Washington, DC, partners pledged more than $2.3 billion for humanitarian assistance, stabilization, and demining in Iraq. The Coalition expects to raise approximately $2 billion for these efforts in Iraq and Syria for 2017.
Secretary Tillerson: A successful stabilization period will improve daily life for millions of people. pic.twitter.com/vEhBkT55cj— Department of State (@StateDept) March 22, 2017
These funds are making way for a successful stabilization period that will improve daily life for millions of people. Today in east Mosul, stabilization projects are clearing rubble, clearing land mines, restoring water services and electricity, and nearly 32,000 boys and girls are now back in school. These efforts are being led by Iraqis locally in cooperation with the central government. At the same time, the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) is similarly working to demine liberated areas, while also focusing on building local demining capacity to help make these areas safer to live. Ten Coalition Members are on tap to meet one-third of Iraq’s demining costs through 2018.
A successful stabilization phase will set the stage for a successful normalization phase in which local leaders and local governments will take on the process of restoring their communities in the wake of ISIS with our support. The development of a rejuvenated civil society in these places will lead to a disenfranchisement of ISIS and the emergence of stability and peace where there was once chaos and suffering.
In Iraq, local leaders are restoring services, clearing schools and clinics of explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices, helping families return home once they are ready, providing security, and contributing to re-establishing the rule of law in liberated areas. Iraq’s success in rehabilitating liberated communities is due in part to the partnership it forged with Coalition members that has enabled the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to provide more than $240 million in stabilization programs over the last two years. The UNDP, working on the ground in Iraq with local partners, has implemented more than 350 projects to date, all of which have achieved their intended objectives on time and at cost.
The Coalition also supports and enables Government of Iraq-led military operations to ensure that cities are liberated and secured in a sustainable manner. By working with the United Nations and in partnership with the Government of Iraq, aid organizations have worked to ensure that humanitarian assistance is staged prior to military operations and in preparation for outflows of internally displaced persons (IDPs). In total, more than 1.5 million Iraqis have returned to their homes. By prepositioning emergency assistance, identifying local hold forces to provide post-ISIS security, establishing a demining capacity, and implementing quick-impact stabilization projects, we have seen a significant reduction in Iraq’s IDP population and helped create conditions that facilitate voluntary, safe, and dignified IDP returns. Coalition partners are supporting increased capacity in rule of law by training more Iraqi police and exploring additional assistance to support Iraq’s domestic capacity to hold members of ISIS accountable for their international crimes.
As the Coalition-backed forces make rapid progress in military operations to isolate Raqqa, we are applying lessons learned from Iraq to facilitate the stabilization of liberated territories in Syria. Since the start of the Coalition-supported Raqqa campaign last November, military operations have generated approximately 35,000 IDPs. The majority of IDPs continue to flee towards areas cleared by Coalition-supported forces, where they have been assisted by host communities and supported by NGOs. Approximately 27,000 have already returned home following expeditious clearance operations by Coalition-supported C-ISIS forces. The UN and NGO partners, with Coalition support, have provided assistance to tens of thousands of IDPs in this area since November.
Secretary Tillerson: Now is the time to strengthen our shared commitment to security, and invest in a fight in which we all have a stake. pic.twitter.com/pJmJrFatOH— Department of State (@StateDept) March 22, 2017
Secretary Tillerson reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the effort, emphasizing that defeating ISIS remains the United States’ number one priority in the region. He encouraged his fellow coalition leaders to continue their collective effort, stating, “Our Coalition is united in stopping an ISIS resurgence, halting its global ambitions, and discrediting its ideological narrative. And we are ready to grow stronger and stay aggressive in this battle.”
Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.com.
For more information:
- Fact Sheet: The Global Coalition - Working to Defeat ISIS
- Press Release: Meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition on the Defeat of ISIS
- Remarks: Secretary Tillerson at the Ministerial Plenary for the Global Coalition Working to Defeat ISIS
- Press Release: List of Participants: Meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition -- Working to Defeat ISIS
- Press Release: Statement by Ministers of the Global Coalition: Meeting on the Defeat of ISIS