French President Emmanuel Macron proposed on Tuesday October 24 from Tel Aviv that the anti-Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) coalition “can also fight against Hamas”. The Élysée then clarified that it was “to draw inspiration from the experience of the international coalition against Daesh and see which aspects can be replicated against Hamas”. An initiative that sparked controversy.
Following the deadly attacks carried out on October 7 by the Palestinian Islamist movement in power in Gaza, Israel launched a massive bombing campaign against the enclave and says it aims to ” destroy “ Hamas.
A coalition born in 2014
The international coalition against the Islamic State (IS) was created in the summer of 2014, mainly under the aegis of the United States, with the aim of combating the terrorist group which had seized large territories in Syria and Iraq, including the cities of Rakka, Fallujah and Mosul during the Syrian civil war and the disintegration of the Iraqi state.
Initially composed of 22 countries, the coalition then brought together nearly 80 countries. In addition to the usual allies of the United States – Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and European countries members of NATO – the coalition extends to several Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco , Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar. It also brings together international organizations, such as Interpol, the European Union and the Arab League.
Iran and Russia are also fighting against Daesh, independent of the coalition. They are allying themselves in Syria with the regime of Bashar Al Assad.
On the military front, the coalition armed forces primarily provide air support for the forces engaged against Daesh. From August 2014, the United States carried out airstrikes and provided logistical assistance to the Iraqi army. Iraqi forces supported by the coalition quickly recaptured the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah. In Syria, it supports the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish militias and Arab fighters.
At the end of three years of war, the coalition allowed Iraq to retake the city of Mosul, self-proclaimed capital of the “caliphate”, then its entire territory in December 2017. In March 2019, the territories occupied by Daesh in the northeastern Syria are completely liberated.
After this victory, the coalition seeks to prevent any revival of the jihadist group. To do this, it focuses on training the Iraqi security services and providing them with logistical support. It also carries out intelligence missions.
From 2019, a gradual withdrawal
In January 2019, the international coalition announced the start of its withdrawal from Syria. The United States and then France begin to repatriate part of their troops. In December 2021, Iraq announced the end of the combat mission. Between August 2014 and December 2021, the coalition carried out 35,404 airstrikes. “The relationship with the international coalition continues in the areas of training, advice and capacity building”then asserts Qassem Al Aaraji, Iraqi national security advisor.
While clandestine “sleeper” cells persist in the Middle East, the coalition continues to exist and extends its field of action to the African continent where jihadist groups, such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda, are gaining influence.