U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter says the international community has to step up the fight against Islamic State before another terrorist attack like the November 13 Paris assault.
Testifying before the Senate Armed Forces Committee Wednesday, Carter urged Turkey to do more to “control its often porous border” with Syria and criticized Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states for being “pre-occupied by the conflict in Yemen” and not paying enough attention to the fight against IS. He also said it is time for Russia to “focus on the right side of this fight.” Western nations have accused Russia of focusing its strikes on Syrian opposition fighters in support of its ally, President Bashar al-Assad, a charge Russian officials have denied.
Carter said the U.S. has asked about 40 countries for more contributions, including special operations forces and weapons.
Meanwhile, Carter said the U.S. is prepared to deploy advisers and attack helicopters to help Iraqi forces retake the city of Ramadi from IS militants. On the subject of U.S. special forces troops deployed to Iraq and Syria, he said “we will not hesitate to expand it” when see opportunities against Islamic State.
“The reality is we are at war. That’s how our [U.S.] troops feel about…they’re taking the fight to ISIL every day,” Carter said, using another acronym for Islamic State.
At the hearing, Senator John McCain pressed Carter on the assessment by military leaders that the U.S. has not yet contained Islamic State.
Carter said he agreed with the assement but said “we are building momentum” against IS.