Sanders: Incumbent on Muslim Nations to Defeat ISIS

The United States should not lead the fight against ISIS and Islamic extremists, as the sole responsibility of defeating ISIS lies upon Muslim nations in the region, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said on Thursday.

During a speech at Georgetown University in DC Thursday afternoon, Sanders suggested that the fight against ISIS “is a struggle for the soul of Islam, and countering violent extremism and destroying ISIS must be done primarily by Muslim nations – with the strong support” of the West.

“Wealthy and powerful Muslim nations in the region can no longer sit on the sidelines and expect the United States to do their work for them,” he stressed while acknowledging that the destruction of ISIS must be the world’s highest priority. “As we develop a strongly coordinated effort, we need a commitment from these countries that the fight against ISIS takes precedence over the religious and ideological differences that hamper the kind of cooperation that we desperately need.”

“It is clear that the United States must pursue policies to destroy the brutal and barbaric ISIS regime, and to create conditions that prevent fanatical extremist ideologies from flourishing. But we cannot – and should not – do it alone,” Sanders added.

The Democratic presidential hopeful also called for the creation of an organization “like NATO” to confront the security threats of the 21st century – “an organization that emphasizes cooperation and collaboration to defeat the rise of violent extremism and importantly to address the root causes underlying these brutal acts.”

Earlier Thursday, his rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, outline a strategy to defeat ISIS “that starts with a more effective coalition air campaign, with more allied planes, more strikes, and a broader target set.”

Unlike Sanders, Clinton did not relay the sole responsibility on the countries in the region. But she did say that the deployment of ground troops should be done by the Iraqi government and Sunni nations as a small amount of U.S troops serves as trainers and advisors on the ground.

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