US ‘encouraged’ as UAE and Saudis offer help in coalition attack on Isis

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‘The White House on Sunday reported “very good progress” in efforts to build a multinational coalition to “degrade and ultimately defeat” the Islamic State (Isis) militants who murdered British aid worker David Haines and two American journalists.

The secretary of state, John Kerry, said he was “extremely encouraged” by promises of military aid, including ground troops and air strikes, which he said he had received from several countries during his trip through the Middle East to build support. States believed to include the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have offered to help attack Isis in Syria and Iraq.

Kerry is to join Iraqi, Arab and other western ministers at a conference in Paris on Monday, to agree ways to support the new Baghdad government in the war against the jihadi group. Arab participation in military action would help give a wider sense of legitimacy to the campaign; UAE aircraft recently bombed Islamist militia targets in Libya from bases in Egypt.

A senior western source told the Guardian, meanwhile, that Saudi Arabia felt so threatened by Isis that it was prepared to act in a frontline role.

“There is a very real possibility that we could have the Saudi air force bombing targets inside Syria,” the source said. “That is a remarkable development, and something the US would be very pleased to see.” ‘

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Niamh Harris
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