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Kuwait talks to counter militants’ online campaign
October 25, 2014, 8:14 am

Kuwait will host international talks next week aimed at finding ways to undermine the slick online campaign attracting foreign fighters to the ranks of Islamic militants battling in Iraq and Syria. “The conference will present an opportunity for an in-depth exchange of ideas for increasing cooperation among coalition partners,” US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday. The US delegation to Monday’s talks is being led by Undersecretary of State for public affairs Rick Stengel, and special US envoy, the retired general John Allen, will give an address.

They will join counterparts from Bahrain, Britain, Egypt, France, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. “I think every country coming will be asked to do more,” Psaki said, as the US leads efforts to build a coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group.

“Some have started to take steps. There are muftis in many of these countries who have spoken out. There are governments that have taken steps,” she said. “There are media outlets that have done a little bit. But this is a nascent effort and there’s a lot more that needs to happen to effectively communicate with the public in these countries.” Religious leaders and governments all have a role in trying to counter the militants’ messages, stressing “that ISIL is not Islam,” she said. Western governments have been increasingly alarmed by the numbers of European and American fighters sneaking into Syria to fight with IS.

At the weekend three teenage girls from Colorado, of Sudanese and Somali origin, were caught heading for Turkey by German authorities at Frankfurt airport, CNN television said. A law enforcement official told ABC News the girls were trying “to fulfill what they believe is some vision that has been put out on a slick media campaign” by radical groups in Syria. Canadian police also said that a gunman who rampaged through the Canadian parliament in Ottawa was applying for a passport to travel to war-torn Syria.

The American officials said that the Syrian opposition forces will be recruited by the US and the coalition countries to train them to defend their land, not to control the new territory, but hold on to the territories regained from DAESH elements.

In spite of the fact that President Barack Obama considers the Syrian opposition moderate which was an essential element when the announcement of his strategy to defeat ‘DAESH’, was made, the officials believe the units that have been assembled recently will not be able to ‘seize’ the towns from the insurgents without the US combat escort teams. The tasks of the moderate Syrian opposition forces instead will be to try and prevent ‘DAESH’ from ‘moving forward’ beyond the vast territory the Islamic State already controls. President Barack Obama during the launch of the campaign against ‘DAESH’ had said that the United States will strengthen the Syrian opposition to strike a balance of power with the extremists.

Later he announced the Defense Department had announced a plan to train up to five thousand Syrian dissidents each year. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior plans to withdraw the passports of any citizen who is found to be sympathetic to the Islamic State or the so-called DAESH ideology, reports Al-Anba daily.

The same sources said there is nothing wrong in this decision. It is only legal to prevent these people from travelling to ‘unsafe’ countries. The sources called this exercise ‘temporary’ and that the passports will be returned once it is proved these people are no longer involved in illegal activities. The sources also said Kuwait is coordinating with Arab countries to prevent its citizens from travelling to conflict places.

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