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EU developing strategy to confront ISIL
September 25, 2014, 8:30 am
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The European Parliament's Security and Defence Subcommittee and Foreign Affairs Committee's debate.

The European Parliament's Security and Defence Subcommittee and Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday afternoon held a debate about the security threat posed by ISIL in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the world with EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove.

De Kerchove said the EU's foreign service, called the European External Action Service, EEAS, is working on a comprehensive strategy to fight ISIL with the focus on counter terrorism.

"This strategy has to address military action in Iraq, air strike and support to the Iraqi army and the Kurdish fighters and the new government. Much tougher sanction to stop the flow of money to ISIL, flow of arms and oil smuggling through which ISIL collects its money," he said.

"I am in favour of developing a project in the countries around Syria and Iraq to improve the way they address the ideological challenges," said the EU's top anti-terrorism official.

He said the will set up a platform to assess each and every private donation, satellite TV, internet that support ISIL and stop it.
He called for a joint approach on Syria such military strike as well and more support in the liberated areas.

De Kerchove called for more engagement with Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and North Africa to help to improve their policies to deal with terrorism.

On his part, John O'Rourke, Head of the EEAS "Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq" division, speaking at the same event outlined the comprehensive and effective response by the EU to the ISIL threat.

"We need to better understand this phenomenon. The nature of ISIL is new because it is both a terrorist organisation and at the same time has some of the appendage of a state. It raises taxes. It provides some measure of services to the populations of the territories that it controls," he noted.

"We need to known their foreign sponsors their sources of support. The first item to counter their threat is to isolate them, which means blocking the movement of people and foreign fighters, of arms and finances, said O'Rourke.

He stressed the need to avoid giving the impression that "this is about the West engaged in a battle with Islam and the Middle East." O'Rourke also cautioned about the arming of the Kurds in northern Iraq.

"I am not saying that we should not arm them but we should be aware of the risks that this poses for the long-term stability of that part of the world," he said.

"In Syria there is the added difficulty of whom do we support since we don't want to be in partnership with the Assad regime in the fight against ISIL," he added.

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