US tells Arab allies against ISIS to 'reclaim youth' from extremism

"This will be a generational and a global challenge," Retired US General John Allen tells partners gathered at Kuwait conference.

October 28, 2014 17:25
1 minute read.
Islamic State

An Islamic State terrorist holds a flag with the group's insignia.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

WASHINGTON -- Retired US General John Allen, Washington's special envoy to the coalition against Islamic State, worked over sixty international partners in the cause at a conference in Kuwait City on Monday, discussing the progress of their fight against the group and the long haul expected ahead.

As air strikes continued on Islamic State targets— four in Syria and nine in Iraq were reported overnight— Allen vowed the military defeat of the group in due course, but warned that Arab leaders, religious and political, must also battle the group's "cult of violence" and extremism in the information space.

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"This will be a generational and a global challenge," Allen said. "But it is also an opportunity to reclaim our youth, our human capital for the betterment of all our peoples. "

"It is time for the world to clearly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of organizations like Da’esh [Islamic State] that seek to enflame sectarian tensions, incite hatred, and terrorize in the name of religion," he continued. "We must do this together, united as a coalition and as partners."

Allen, a four-star general, was the commander who trained the Afghani armed forces through 2013. He was US President Barack Obama's nominee for NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, Europe that year, before he announced his retirement.

"As we fight Da’esh in the battle space and as we fight Da’esh in the marketplace, we must fight its ideas in the information space," he said.

The US seeks an "information coalition," US undersecretary of state for political affairs Richard Stengel said on Monday, as a "complement" to the military element.

Allen encouraged leaders and their communications staffs worldwide to "set forth tangible work plans that will directly and rapidly counter ISIL's propaganda in cyberspace and the press."

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