30 countries pledge support for US-led fight against ISIS



Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has condemned the execution of British national, David Haines, by the Islamic State (IS) as “barbaric” and “deeply reprehensible”.

In a statement released on Monday, the MFA said, “Singapore strongly condemns the killing and our sympathies go out to the family of Mr Haines.”

“ISIS is a serious terrorist threat which must be dealt with comprehensively.”

The ministry says Singapore welcomes the formation of the international coalition to combat the ISIS threat and also welcomes the declaration by regional Arab countries in Jeddah to stand united against ISIS.

“This is critical to cut off support for ISIS in terms of the movement of fighters, materials and funding as well as the ideological battle,” the MFA said.

The statement comes on the same day that some 40 countries and international organisations declared support for a United States-led plan to fight the militant jihadist group “by all means necessary”.

The show of support  came as representatives gathered in Paris conference to discuss the issue.

The pledge from the countries stressed that ISIS extremists were a “threat not only to Iraq but also to the entire international community” and thus has to be dealt with.

“To that end,” the statement from the group said, “they are committed to supporting the new Iraqi government in its fight against [Islamic State], by any means necessary, including appropriate military assistance, in line with the needs expressed by the Iraqi authorities, in accordance with international law and without jeopardising civilian security.”

Iraq President, Fuad Masum said he hoped there will be a “quick response” to the jihadists who have declared a caliphate or an Islamic state ruled under sharia law in a region spanning Iraq and Syria.

“Islamic State’s doctrine is either you support us or kill us. It has committed massacres and genocidal crimes and ethnic purification,” he told the conference.

The French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, said ISIS was neither “a state or representative of Islam” and neither were its “throat-cutters”.

“It’s a movement so dangerous that all those here today consider it necessary not just to make it retreat, but to make it disappear,” he said. “When you have a group of this kind there is no other approach than to defend oneself. That is what the international community has decided to do.”

Read the statement in full here.

The Paris conference took place a day after ISIS released a gruesome video online of the beheading of Briton Haines, who was an aid worker bringing humanitarian assistance to those caught in the war.

Haines was the third western hostage to be executed in a month.

British officials said that Prime Minister David Cameron knows the identity of the person who carried out the execution of Haines, but the British government is not making his name public “for operational reasons.”

The person, who is believed to be a British national who have gone to support ISIS, is also believed to be the same one who similarly executed two other Americans.

“Cameron knows that the executioner holds other hostages from additional Western countries and that he is part of a larger group of British hostage-takers working for ISIS, nicknamed ‘the Beatles’ by their captives. And he knows that the lives of the remaining hostages are in grave danger,” CNN reported.

ISIS had also displayed another British national, Alan Henning, in the video of the execution of Haines, warning that he would be next to be killed if the British continued to support the fight against ISIS.

On Monday, British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said the intelligence services do not know where Henning is being held hostage by ISIS militants.

“We don’t know where he is,” Hammond said. “Obviously, if we knew where he was, we would be able to look at all sorts of options but we don’t know where he is.

International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq, in Paris“We have considered every possible option to support these kidnap victims – both British and others – and if we knew where they were, it would be a different story.”

Last week, US President Barack Obama addressed the American people about the plan to push back and destroy ISIS which he described as “a terrorist organization, pure and simple.”

“Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy,” Obama said, outlining a four-pronged approach to the battle against the extremists.

“We have countries in this region, countries outside of this region, in addition to the United States, all of whom are prepared to engage in military assistance, in actual strikes if that is what it requires,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said last week, after the meeting with representatives of the Arab states.

The support for the US-led initiative has now grown from an initial 10 countries to 30, including 10 Arab states such as Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and six Gulf states including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.