NEW YORK, September 11 (RIA Novosti) – US President Barack Obama's strategy for defeating Islamic State (IS) militants depends on Sunni Muslim governments taking a public role in the coalition, US Senator Carl Levin said on Thursday, during a meeting of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations.
"A public role is not any possible, it's essential. If we're going to turn the momentum against the extremists and the terrorists and the fanatics and the violence-users inside of that strain of Islam, it's got to be led by the mainstream Islam. There's no alternative," Levin who also serves as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services said.
"If mainstream Muslims fail to join and the conflict can be successfully portrayed as one of the West against Islam, the poison is likely to appear in new and different forms, as it has done in the past," Levin added.
On Wednesday, US President Barack Obama announced plans to defeat the IS, which is also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL. The strategy entails extending US airstrikes from Iraq to Syria and bolstering Kurdish and Iraqi forces army and Syria's moderate opposition.
The jihadist group, known for proclaiming hardline Islamic fundamentalism, has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In 2014, it seized vast areas across Iraq and Syria and proclaimed an Islamic caliphate on the seized territories, forcing thousands members of religious minorities to flee. Up to 50,000 militants are believed to be fighting for the IS.