At UN, coalition finds little consensus on how to fight extremism

President Obama led a meeting of more than 60 nations at the United Nations on ways to combat violent extremism and dismantle the Islamic State, but consensus on how to proceed eluded the coalition. Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner reports.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    World leaders met today at the United Nations on ways to combat violent extremism around the world, especially in Syria and Iraq.

    NewsHour's chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner is there and has this report.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    I have repeatedly said that our approach will take time. This is not an easy task.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Today's admission came one year after President Obama formed an international coalition against the Islamic State, with much fanfare here at the U.N.

    The U.S.-led coalition includes some 60 countries, about two dozen taking part in the military campaign. The president told the group he is ultimately optimistic, but the date of success was unclear.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    We have ISIL taking root in areas that already are suffering from failed governance, in some cases, in some cases, civil war or sectarian strife. And, as a consequence of the vacuum that exists in many of these areas, ISIL has been able to dig in. They have shown themselves to be resilient.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Indeed, this map from the Institute for the Study of War last September shows the Islamic State's zones of control in Iraq and Syria. A similar map this month shows the group has made gains in Central Syria.

    In Iraq, the Islamic State still holds the major cities of Mosul and Ramadi, while Kurdish and Iraqi government forces have liberated Kirkuk and Tikrit, and stopped an advance on the Iraqi Kurdish capital, Irbil.

    So far, Iraqi government plans to launch new offensives have come to little. As for Syria, CBS News now reports the Pentagon is ending its $500 million program to train moderate rebels there. The National Security Council disputes that report. But U.S. officials have said that only a handful of the trainees ever took to the field.

    Kurdish fighters have been effective in both countries, but the politics are complicated. Today, Turkey's prime minister, a member of the coalition, made a point of saying the Turks were also fighting Turkey's Kurdish rebels demanding autonomy.

  • AHMET DAVUTOGLU, Prime Minister, Turkey:

    All of us, we must be vigilant. One terrorist fighting the other will not legitimize it. We want our partners and friends to support Turkey in its fight against all types of terrorism.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    For his part, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi urged greater support to build up his military and shut down recruiting for ISIS.

    In fact, there have been multiple reports that the past year has seen a spike in foreign recruits to ISIS from more than 100 countries.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron addressed that.

  • DAVID CAMERON, Prime Minister, United Kingdom:

    So, of course, we have to win militarily. We have to have the political solution. We need all the propaganda I have spoken about. But we also need to challenge the extremist world view right at the very start.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    That appeal to beat back extremism was nearly universal at today's summit. But consensus on how to do it remained hard to come by.

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