Thursday, 25 September 2014

S’pore seriously considering how to help fight Islamic State: PM Lee

Update 17 Oct 2014: Singapore yet to decide on joining US-led fight against ISIS
Singapore is “seriously considering” how it can be a helpful partner in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said today (Oct 17)

Speaking at a retreat at the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting in Milan, Italy, Mr Lee told political leaders from the two regions that Singapore welcomes the formation of a broad international coalition, including the United States and many Arab countries, to combat the terrorist threat.

He said that, given the complex situation in Iraq and Syria, there is no purely military solution to the problem. However, it is still necessary to contain and weaken the Islamic State, he added.

In recent weeks, a US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against Islamic State targets in Kobane, a Syrian town at the border of Turkey, to push back the militants’ advance.

Singapore condemns ISIS in strongest possible terms, Shanmugam tells UN
"It is brutal, cruel and a travesty of all that religion stands for," Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam said at the UN General Assembly while backing international efforts and UN resolutions to combat the group. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam has reiterated Singapore's strong stand against the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) at the United Nations General Assembly.

Speaking moments ago at the UN meeting in New York, Mr Shanmugam told the other world leaders that Singapore condemns the terrorist actions of the groups "in the strongest possible terms".

"It is brutal, cruel and a travesty of all that religion stands for," he said while backing international efforts and UN resolutions to combat the group.

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PM Lee: Singapore is happy the Americans have taken a stand against the Islamic State
US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon jets flying in echelon formation en route to an exercise. Photo: Reuters

While Singapore is glad that the Americans have taken a stand against the Islamic State militant group, the Republic has not yet decided whether or how it will support the United States-led coalition campaign given the complexity of the situation, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.

Speaking to the Singapore media in an interview to wrap up his week-long work trip to China and Hong Kong, Mr Lee was asked if the Republic will be joining the coalition. Mr Lee said: “We are happy that the Americans have taken a stand ... This is a threat to people all over the world.”

He added: “How we can support the American-led effort? That’s something we can discuss. We have not reached a point of making a decision yet. Even how the Americans are going to pursue this and what they’re going to do, they haven’t quite decided yet.”

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Question on ISIS: Do you think that Singapore will join this call? And also, how influential do you think this organisation is in Singapore and the region?

PM Lee: We are happy that the US has taken a stand against ISIS. This is a threat to people all over the world. I see that the Australians have just launched a major security operation yesterday, picking up people who were about to do something terrible in Australia. We in Singa­pore have had people go to Syria, Iraq and join ISIS, so we are exposed too. Certainly the Indonesians and the Malaysians have significant numbers of their citizens there. The Malaysians have had more than one person killed there in the fighting, some as suicide bombers. So we have to take it seriously.

How can we support the American-led effort? That is something we can discuss. We have not reached the point of making a decision yet. Even how the Americans are going to pursue this, and what exactly they are going to do, they haven’t quite decided yet. They are not going to put troops on the ground.

It is a very complicated situation. It’s not one of those situations where you can say, those are the bad guys, let’s knock them out. You are talking about 30 something thousand fighters. They command a very substantial area of land. They have resources – they have oil; they are in fact running a government. And they are also fighting the government in Syria, which very recently, if you go by the international media, was still being seen as the bad guys. They are also fighting against the Iranians. In the Middle East, things are never simple. You can’t come riding in on a white horse and knock out the bad guys, then tomorrow peace breaks out.

Singapore Summit 2014 Dialogue with PM Lee: Worries ISIS threat

Even though governments can take measures to weaken ISIS, "you can't fundamentally change the texture of the society and the people there. When you are gone, the problem will come back", he said.

"What we can do in our own homes is to watch the security, confidence and trust-building between different communities and make sure... the Muslims have leaders who will stand up and say that ISIS is not Islam, that it is evil, and we repudiate them and condemn them. Fortunately in Singapore, we have got religious leaders who have said that and said that emphatically."

Occasionally, some people are led astray, and Singapore has been lucky to discover them early. But some slip through: "We have a couple in Syria and Iraq, including a woman with teenage children... And the children are part of this. So it is something to be taken in absolute seriousness."

S'pore PM's worries: ISIS, threat, Asian stability

The rise of a group of jihadists in Syria and Iraq, and growing nationalism in Asia, are two things that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinks about before he goes to bed.

The first worries him because the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is not a problem just for the Middle East, while the second threatens peace and stability in Asia, he said. He was responding to questions at The Singapore Summit dialogue.

ISIS, which has captured large swathes of territory and committed atrocities such as beheadings, has fighters from the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia, including Malaysia and Indonesia, he said.

Islamic State urges attacks on U.S., French citizens, taunts Obama

Islamic State urged its followers on Monday to attack citizens of the United States, France and other countries which have joined a coalition to destroy the ultra-radical group.

Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani also taunted U.S. President Barack Obama and other Western "crusaders" in a statement carried by the SITE monitoring website, saying their forces faced inevitable defeat at the insurgents' hands.

The United States is building an international coalition to combat the extremist Sunni Muslim force, which has seized large expanses of territory in Iraq and Syria and proclaimed a caliphate erasing borders in the heart of the Middle East.

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

 Coat of Arms
As of 23 September 2014
     Areas controlled by the Islamic State     Areas claimed by the Islamic State     Rest of Iraq and Syria

The Islamic State (IS; Arabic: الدولة الإسلامية‎ ad-Dawlah l-ʾIslāmiyyah), previously calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL /ˈaɪsəl/) or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS /ˈaɪsɪs/; Arabic: الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام‎), and also known by the Arabic acronym Daʿesh (داعش), is an unrecognized state and a Sunni jihadist group active in Iraq and Syria in the Middle East. In its self-proclaimed status as a caliphate, it claims religious authority over all Muslims across the world and aspires to bring most of the Muslim-inhabited regions of the world under its political control beginning with territory in the Levant region which includes Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus and part of southern Turkey.

The group has been described by the United Nations, Israel, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Western and Middle Eastern media as a terrorist group and has been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia. The United Nations and Amnesty International have accused the group of grave human rights abuses.

The Islamic State, also widely known as ISIS, ISIL and Daʿesh, originated as Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in 1999. This group was the forerunner of Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn—commonly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)—a group formed by Abu Musab Al Zarqawi in 2004 which took part in the Iraqi insurgency against American-led forces and their Iraqi allies following the2003 invasion of Iraq. During the 2003–2011 Iraq War, it joined other Sunni insurgent groups to form the Mujahideen Shura Council, which consolidated further into the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI /ˈaɪsɪ/) shortly afterwards. At its height it enjoyed a significant presence in the Iraqi governorates of Al Anbar, Nineveh, Kirkuk, most of Salah ad Din, parts of Babil, Diyala and Baghdad, and claimed Baqubah as a capital city. However, the violent attempts by the Islamic State of Iraq to govern its territory led to a backlash from Sunni Iraqis and other insurgent groups in around 2008 which helped to propel the Awakening movement and a temporary decline in the group. In April 2013, the group changed its name to the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham.

As ISIS, the group grew significantly under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, gaining support in Iraq as a result of alleged economic and political discrimination against Iraqi Sunnis. Then, after entering the Syrian Civil War, it established a large presence in the Syrian governorates of Ar-Raqqah, Idlib, Deir ez-Zor and Aleppo. In June 2014, it had at least 4,000 fighters in its ranks in Iraq. It has claimed responsibility for attacks on government and military targets and for attacks that have killed thousands of civilians. In August 2014, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that the number of fighters in the group had increased to 50,000 in Syria and 30,000 in Iraq, while the CIA estimated in September 2014 that in both countries it had between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters. ISIS had close links to al-Qaeda until February 2014 when, after an eight-month power struggle, al-Qaeda cut all ties with the group, reportedly for its brutality and "notorious intractability".

The group's original aim was to establish an Islamic state in the Sunni-majority regions of Iraq, and following ISIS's involvement in the Syrian Civil War this expanded to include controlling Sunni-majority areas of Syria. A caliphate was proclaimed on 29 June 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—now known as Amir al-Mu'minin Caliph Ibrahim—was named as its caliph, and the group was renamed the Islamic State.

US, Arab allies hit Islamic State strongholds in Syria, Iraq
A guided-missile cruiser in the Persian Gulf launches a Tomahawk cruise missile against Islamic State targets. U.S. Navy handout photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Garst

Updated at 9:42 a.m. | WASHINGTON — Combined U.S.-Arab airstrikes hit Islamic State group military strongholds in Syria and Iraq as a simultaneous U.S. strike attacked an al-Qaida cell of hardened veterans with “significant explosives skills” said to be plotting attacks on the U.S. and Western interests, the U.S. military said.

The top American military official, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, said the U.S. and its Arab allies achieved their aim of showing the extremists that their savage attacks will not go unanswered.

The U.S. and five Arab nations attacked the Islamic State group’s headquarters in eastern Syria in nighttime raids Monday using land- and sea-based U.S. aircraft as well as Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from two Navy ships in the Red Sea and the northern Persian Gulf.

U.S. Suspects More Direct Threats Beyond ISIS
WEARY TRAVELERS Thousands of people journey daily between Iraqi Kurdistan and territory controlled by the Islamic State. CreditAndrea Bruce for The New York Times

As the United States begins what could be a lengthy military campaign against the Islamic State, intelligence and law enforcement officials said another Syrian group, led by a shadowy figure who was once among Osama bin Laden’s inner circle, posed a more direct threat to America and Europe.

American officials said that the group called Khorasan had emerged in the past year as the cell in Syria that may be the most intent on hitting the United States or its installations overseas with a terror attack. The officials said that the group is led by Muhsin al-Fadhli, a senior Qaeda operative who, according to the State Department, was so close to Bin Laden that he was among a small group of people who knew about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks before they were launched.

There is almost no public information about the Khorasan group, which was described by several intelligence, law enforcement and military officials as being made up of Qaeda operatives from across the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa. Members of the cell are said to be particularly interested in devising terror plots using concealed explosives. It is unclear who, besides Mr. Fadhli, is part of the Khorasan group.

Syrian group could pose bigger threat than ISIS

A shadowy Syrian group could pose as great a threat to the West as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to a recent report.

Counterterrorism officials say the Khorasan group, led by a former confidante of Osama bin Laden, might have its sights set on targets in the United States and other Western countries, The New York Times reported Saturday.

"In terms of threat to the homeland, Khorasan may pose as much of a danger as the Islamic State,” James Clapper, director of national intelligence, said Thursday, according to the Times.

President Obama Delivers Statement On Recent Airstrikes Against ISIL In Syria
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23: U.S President Barack Obama makes a statement on recent U.S. and allied airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria from the White House South Lawn September 23, 2014 in Washington, DC.

During his remarks, Obama said "We're going to do what is necessary to take the fight to this terrorist group.

US strikes on Islamic State: The view from Syria

Syria was told of the US air strikes on Islamic State (IS) targets before they were launched - but President Assad's regime did not condemn the operation.

It is being seen as a notable shift in policy by the Syrian government.

The BBC's Jeremy Bowen reports on the widening of the military alliance against IS forces.


Obama on ISIS Airstrikes: 'This Is Not America's Fight Alone'

President Barack Obama, speaking publicly for the first time after airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, declared Tuesday that the partnership of Arab allies “makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone.”

The president spoke from the South Lawn of the White House before flying to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, where he will seek to marshal further support for the anti-ISIS campaign. The United States was joined in the strikes early Tuesday by Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“America’s proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these nations on behalf of our common security,” the president said. “The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone.”

US: Syria Won't, Can't Stop Militant Safe Havens

President Barack Obama on Tuesday hailed the coalition of Arab states that joined U.S. forces to pound Islamic State targets in Syria, calling it a sign that Middle Eastern people were “standing up for the peace and security that the people of the region and the world deserves.”

Hours earlier, U.S. forces and Arab allies hit dozens of targets, using war planes, remote drones and ship-launched cruise missiles to attack the militants in Syria for the first time. The attacks, which U.S. officials are calling "very succesful," were the largest of their sort since Obama announced nearly two weeks ago that the U.S. would be stepping up its fight against the group.

The United States also said it launched airstrikes on Syrian territory for because the Syrian government cannot or will not stop the militants from setting up safe havens.


Airstrikes Raise the Stakes for Obama's U.N. Pitch

This week’s gathering at the United Nations in New York was already slated to be a big event in President Obama’s efforts to rally the world against ISIS. And now it’s even bigger. Beginning at approximately 8:30 pm ET last night, the United States -- with help from five Arab nations -- launched airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, escalating the military campaign against ISIS for the first time beyond Iraq. Those airstrikes change the tone and the focus at the U.N. meeting.

How do Russia and the Security Council react, especially since Syria is a Russian ally? What about other nations who had been questioning the United States’ resolve? Does the U.S. get any additional participation from other nations? Do already-supportive nations become a little more supportive? Bottom line: The timing of this new military campaign inside Syria couldn’t be more striking.

NBC’s Kristen Welker reports that President Obama will make a statement from the White House at 10:00 am ET before he leaves for the U.N. meeting in New York. The rest of the president’s schedule: At 12:50 pm ET, he speaks at the U.N.’s climate summit; at 2:00 pm, he gives a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative; at 5:15 pm ET, he attends an event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (does he keep that event given the airstrikes?); and at 9:00 pm ET, he and the first lady attend a reception for the visiting world leaders.

U.S. Begins Airstrikes In Syria, Pentagon Says
In this handout image provided by the U.S. Navy, The guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) launches Tomahawk cruise missiles on September 23, 2014 in the Red Sea. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Carlos M. Vazquez II/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

Combined U.S.-Arab airstrikes on the Islamic State group's military strongholds in Syria achieved their aim of showing the extremists that their savage attacks will not go unanswered, the top American military officer said Tuesday. Separately, the U.S. launched strikes against a group said to be plotting to attack the U.S. and Western interests.

The U.S. and five Arab nations attacked the Islamic State group's headquarters in eastern Syria in nighttime raids Monday using land- and sea-based U.S. aircraft as well as Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from two Navy ships in the Red Sea and the northern Persian Gulf. American warplanes also carried out eight airstrikes to disrupt what the military described as "imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests" by a network of al-Qaida veterans "with significant explosives skills," said Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The White House said President Barack Obama would speak about the airstrikes before flying to New York on Tuesday morning for the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

"Singapore - US" Bilateral Ties: PM Lee, Biden reaffirm strong bilateral ties
Important regional role: Mr Biden thanked Mr Lee (with Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin behind him) for Singapore's leadership in 'shaping a more peaceful and prosperous South-east Asia'. - PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN/THE STRAITS TIMES

In the White House on Wednesday (Thursday morning, Singapore time), he had separate meetings with United States Vice-President Joe Biden and National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

President Barack Obama, who welcomed Mr Lee to the White House in April last year, dropped by during the meeting with Ms Rice.

The Prime Minister's Office said in a statement issued shortly after the closed-door meetings that Mr Lee welcomed both Mr Obama's and Mr Biden's "strong commitment" to the US rebalancing towards Asia.

Malaysia designates ISIS as terrorist group, vows tough action

Smoke rises from a Shiite mosque after it was destroyed in a bomb attack by militants of the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the city of Mosul, on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK - Malaysia has designated the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as a terrorist organisation and said it would take stern action against its members.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman told a United Nations Security Council meeting on Wednesday that a small number of Malaysians have joined the ISIS with the mistaken belief that doing so would serve the cause of jihad, the New Straits Times reported.

"I wish to unequivocally stress that for Malaysia, there is nothing Islamic about kidnapping, raping, torturing and murdering civilians. We neither condone nor support the involvement of Malaysian nationals who commit terrorism or participate in conflicts abroad," the newspaper quoted Anifah as saying in a statement.

ISIS support in Indonesia poses threat to foreigners
Demonstrators at a rally supporting Kurdistan hold placards protesting against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in front of the White House on Aug 16, 2014 in Washington, DC. Foreigners could again become the target of militant attacks in Indonesia as extremists there pledge loyalty to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, a think-tank warned Wednesday. -- PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (AFP) - Foreigners could again become the target of militant attacks in Indonesia as extremists there pledge loyalty to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, a think-tank warned Wednesday.

In a report, the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) also warned that Indonesian and Malaysian fighters who have joined ISIS in Syria appear to have formed a military unit there, likely strengthening militant networks in Southeast Asia.

After a series of attacks on foreigners in the last decade, Indonesian extremists have in recent years directed their violence at domestic "enemies of Islam", mostly police. There have been no attacks against foreigners since the 2009 twin hotel bombings in Jakarta which killed seven people.

Britain to join airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq, says Cameron
United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron speaks at the 69th United Nations General Assembly on September 24, 2014 in New York City. [AFP]

David Cameron has warned world leaders at the United Nations that the Islamic State, or Isis, harbours “murderous plans to expand its borders well beyond Iraq and Syria… and to carry out terrorist atrocities right across the world” and pledge concerted action by Britain, including air strikes, to thwart it.

Addressing the General Assembly in New York, Mr Cameron confirmed he will seek approval from parliament for Britain to join coalition countries, led by the United States, unleashing aerial strikes against Isis inside Iraq. “The UN Security Council has now received a clear request from the Iraqi government to support it in its military action”, he said. “We have a clear basis in international law for action.”

Mr Cameron was set to return to London overnight and chair a Cabinet meeting this morning ahead of a debate and vote in Parliament on Friday. Before leaving, he told reporters he had spoken with Labour leader Ed Miliband and he was “confident” of cross-party support for a motion to join the aerial mission. Earlier President Barack Obama similarly set out his arguments for taking on what he called the Isis “network of death”.

French President Hollande confirms beheading of hostage Herve Gourdel in Algeria
Kidnapped Frenchman Herve Gourdel (centre) kneels in front of masked militants gunmen, in this still image taken from video which was published on the Internet on Sept 24, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

UNITED NATIONS (REUTERS) - French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday confirmed the execution of Frenchman Herve Gourdel, who was held hostage by Algerian militants linked to the Islamist State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that had previously beheaded three Western captives.

"Our compatriot has been murdered cruelly and in a cowardly way by a terrorist group," Hollande told reporters ahead of his speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York. "Herve Gourdel was killed because he was French."

"My determination is total and this aggression only strengthens it," he said. "France will continue to fight terrorists everywhere. The operations against Islamic State (ISIS) will continue. The military air strikes will continue as long as necessary."

Russia unimpressed by Obama offer to lift sanctions if it 'changes course' on Ukraine

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - US President Barack Obama on Wednesday slammed Russia's "aggression" in Ukraine but offered to lift sanctions against Moscow if it threw its weight behind an unravelling peace deal with Kiev.

The outstretched hand to Moscow came a day after pro-Russian guerrillas brushed off Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's limited self-rule offer and announced plans to set up their own parliaments in self-organised November 2 polls.

The autonomy plan was at the heart of the pro-Western leader's attempts to quell a revolt that has devastated the ex-Soviet nation's economy and revived a Cold War-era mistrust between Moscow and the West. A tough-talking Obama told a special UN General Assembly session in New York that Russia was on the wrong side of history in Ukraine. But he also stressed that a ceasefire deal agreed earlier this month offered an opening toward diplomacy and peace

Obama vows to dismantle IS 'network of death'
President Barack Obama speaks at the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters on September 24, 2014 in New York City. [AFP]

Speaking at the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters, Obama called on international community to be united in the fight against the terrorist group. The US president also vowed that Washington will not be sending troops to occupy the countries in the region as part of its anti-ISIL campaign.

"We will neither tolerate terrorist safe havens nor act as an occupying power."

The US military has been conducting air strikes against the positions of the terrorist group both in Iraq and recently in Syria.

Full Coverage
NDTV: Not Involved in US-led Strikes on Islamic State on Syria: NATO Will Bashar al-Assad be celebrating these attacks on Isil? US, partners begin airstrikes in Syria
Los Angeles Times: US, allied warplanes bombing 12 oil refineries in Syria
The Seattle Times: US, allies launching more airstrikes in Syria
Daily Sabah: U.S., Arab partners carry out new round of strikes in Syria
USA TODAY: US, coalition forces hit IS oil refineries in Syria
Standard News: Islamist threaten attack on embassies of IS-attacking countries US strikes militant staging area in Syria
Town Hall: US hits Islamic State group in both Syria and Iraq
The Straits Times: Strikes in Syria target ISIS oil assets - sources
AOL News: Obama calls for dismantling IS 'network of death'
Toronto Star: Pitfalls of yet another US war on Muslims: Siddiqui The indispensable nation
Chicago Sun-Times: Becoming A war president
Chicago Tribune: Obama's Syria war isn't Bush's 2003 Iraq mistake
CTV News: US, Arab allies launch more airstrikes in Syria US strikes Isil's lucrative oil fields in Syria
Economic Times: Will Barack Obama's Arab coalition stay the course?
Wall Street Journal: Europe Balks at Joining Air Campaign Over Syria
Haaretz: US & Arab partners attack Islamic State controlled oil refineries in Syria
the guardian: Barack Obama authorises air strikes against Isis militants in The ISIS Threat in Iraq and Beyond | Brookings Institution Understanding the ISIS Threat to Americans at Home | TIME US Tracks Threats Against West by Al Qaeda Affiliate in Syria Turkey to take part in anti-ISIS coalition: Kerry | Al Akhbar Read Obama's speech outlining his strategy against ISIS - Vox FACT SHEET: Strategy to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq Report: Syrian group could pose bigger threat than ISIS ...
Asharq Alawsat: Other groups may pose more danger than ISIS: US officials
International Biz Times‎: What Is Khorasan? Syrian Jihadist Group As Dangerous
New York Times: US Suspects More Direct Threats Beyond ISIS
CBS News: How the US-led airstrikes in Syria went down
Daily Mail: 0-US and Arab allies launch first strikes on militants in Syria
SFGate: A peace president launches a justifiable war
Yahoo News: Obama's Syria war carries risks for him at home and abroad
Asbury Park Press: Airstrikes in Syria and Iraq are just the start
The Star Democrat: Obama scores coalition victory with Arab strikes
Town Hall: Obama opens a new front against al-Qaida
Town Hall: Obama: US "Will Do What Is Necessary To Defend Our Country"
The Hill: OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Obama aims to bolster anti-ISIS coalition at UN
Daily Mail: Obama's Syria war carries risks for him at home and abroad
Jerusalem Post: Warning signs that US, Arab powers will face human shields in Syria
New Zealand Herald: Syrian strikes 'only the beginning' of campaign against ISIS
San Jose Mercury: Targeting ISIS in Syria; dire Ebola predictions; Israel avenges
Washington Post: Airstrikes in Syria against IS bring together Persian Gulf nations
Los Angeles Times: Is Obama's Islamic State escalation justified?
New York Times: Reach Out to Arab Tribes in Eastern Syria
New York Times: Demand that Russia and Iran Pressure Assad to Step Down
New York Times: Train and Equip the Free Syrian Army
Arab News: Whither the Mideast after ISIS defeat? Kerry discusses ISIS militant threat with Iranian FM: US Australia treating ISIS kill threat as genuine Four new terrorist groups 'operating in Malaysia now' US gathers allies to 'destroy' ISIS Indonesia's police on alert over apparent ISIS terror threat to Muslim groups in Indonesia condemn ISIS ISIS caliphate declaration shows militants threaten all countries Australia raises terror alert to 'high' but says no intelligence of Real solutions needed to deal with income inequality, says PM Lee Action against ISIS would prevent genocide - NATO

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Update 15 Feb 2015: S'pore, US pledge to boost cooperation in anti-terror fight
Emergency-preparedness exercise simulated attacks on Shenton Way (above), Biopolis and Plaza Singapura

Singapore and the United States have pledged to step up anti-terrorism cooperation, ahead of an inaugural global summit to be organised by the White House on countering violent extremism.

The move was one of the key outcomes of the third US-Singapore Strategic Partnership Dialogue held in the US capital last Friday.

A joint statement said that the dialogue's co-chairs, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Chee Wee Kiong and US top diplomat for Asia Daniel Russel, noted a "mutual desire to work to counter violent extremism in all its forms, having partnered together on the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL". ISIL is another name for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militant group, or ISIS.

Govt-wide anti-terror drill on land and at sea
US-led air strikes hit Qaeda branch in Syria: monitor
Coalition chiefs seek plan to counter IS advance
S'pore welcomes UN anti-terror resolution 'and will play its part'
Security tightened at Vatican over attack fears: Report

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