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September 30, 2015

World leaders debate strategies to defeat ISIS

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Vocab

United Nations — an international organization formed to promote international peace, security and cooperation among nations and headquartered in New York City

Kurdish — pertaining to a group of Islamic people who speak Kurdish and dwell in Kurdistan, a geo-cultural region that covers parts of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria

extremism — the holding of extreme political or religious views

consensus —general agreement


A meeting of world leaders at the United Nations on Tuesday discussed methods of stemming the spread of violent extremism in the Middle East.

Despite the U.S.-led coalition of 60 countries combating the militant group known as Islamic State (ISIS), ISIS fighters made gains in Syria this year and have successfully targeted areas with weak governments.

President Barack Obama said he expects the fight against ISIS to take time, but he remains optimistic about the success of the military campaign.

ISIS had seen growth in international recruiting from more than 100 countries. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told the U.N. his military needed more financial support if they hoped to stop ISIS recruiting efforts. ISIS currently controls two major cities in Iraq, Ramadi and Fallujah. The group even set up a theme park in Fallujah to entertain and recruit children.

Complicating the situation is the role of the Kurdish population in the region. The Kurds are a unique ethnic group living in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. For months, Iraqi government soldiers have fought alongside Kurdish fighters to halt an advance on the Iraqi Kurdish capital city, Irbil.

But in Turkey, the group’s separatist politics create problems. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, also a member of the coalition, said Tuesday that Turkish forces were currently fighting Kurdish rebels in their own country.

“One terrorist fighting the other will not legitimize it,” Davutoglu said. “We want our partners and friends to support Turkey in its fight against all types of terrorism.”

Leaders at the summit seemed to agree on the need to win both the military and ideological campaign against ISIS. British Prime Minister David Cameron said the coalition needs to seek a way to “challenge the extremist world view right at the very start.”


Warm up questions
  1. What is the goal of the United Nations?
  2. What is extremism?
  3. What are some of the sources of conflict in the Middle East right now?
Critical thinking questions
  1. Do you think it is important for the U.S. to fight violent extremism in countries as far away as Iraq? Why or why not?
  2. Why do you think world leaders are having difficulty agreeing on ways to fight violent extremism?
  3. Why has ISIS been successful in recruiting young people?
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