Obama Presses GCC for Help in Iraq

President Obama used his visit with the Gulf Cooperation Council nations Thursday to press for a political solution to the ISIS situation in Syria and Iraq, and for more special forces support from those countries to help reclaim and hold territory. The Iraqi government will need support from allied countries to hold territory it has taken back from ISIS, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said during a Thursday briefing at the GCC summit in Saudi Arabia. “We’ve taken back 40 percent of the territory from ISIL inside of Iraq, but we need to hold that territory,” he said. “We need to develop those areas that have been devastated by ISIL’s presence. And the countries here in the GCC can be helpful in that process, particularly given the fact that those areas in Iraq are Sunni-majority areas.” In addition to providing military support, such as F-15s for Saudi Arabia, the US can help GCC countries grow their special forces to help make a “big difference” in conflicts such as in Syria and the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen. “We’re working to enhance and train and support the development of Gulf special forces, and that will be critical in dealing with the types of conflicts that we’ve seen here in the region,” Rhodes said.