A US commander has called on Australia to send troops to fight ISIS in the Asia-Pacific as he warned the the nation’s government not to underestimate the potential for jihadis to spread Down Under.
Via: Nicole Stinson
Lieutenant General David Berger warned that “movement of violent extremist organisations” was a “very real problem” Australia’s neighbours in Asia-Pacific.
General Berger said that embattled countries such as Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia would need assistance if they were to successfully stop the threat posed by ISIS-inspired militants.
He added: “It should be of very much concern to countries in the region, including Australia and the US.
“I think the potential for it to spread is there, we should not underestimate it.”
The Hawaii-based Marine Corps General claimed it is is only a matter of time before Australian forces join American troops fighting in the region.
He said: “Both of us have a long history of being an expeditionary force when needed, so we begin from a common point I think and we’ve operated alongside for 100 years.
“Regionally where you’re looking for stability, where you’re looking to reassure other countries that there will be a strong enough force in the region to deter bad behaviour, I think absolutely, yes, we [the US Marine Corps] would go where asked.”
It should be of very much concern to countries in the region, including Australia and the US , Lieutenant General David Berger
The Australia government announced last week that it will sending spy aircraft over the southern Philippines.
ISIS-affiliated militants from the Abu Sayyaf Group stormed Marawi City, taking hundred of civilians hostage in May.
US special forces have joined the Filipino army, which has been battling to reclaim the besieged city for six weeks.
Defence and strategic expert John Blaxland, from the Australian National University, has also urged his nation’s army to “reflect on territorial priorities”.
He told the Daily Mail Australia: “Last month, we heightened our presence of troops in Afghanistan. What’s happening in our immediate neighborhood should be more important.
“The military in the Philippines is facing an existential challenge. Things are beginning to snowball.”
The Professor also said that he was unsure whether Australia could solely rely on the US to respond to the growing threat from Daesh.
He continued: “The relationship between the US and [Filipino president] Duterte is prickly. There has still been no kitetic action [lethal force] from them.”
Australian intelligence and troops have been aiding the US-led coalitions in the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
The Australia Defence Force launched Operation Okra against ISIS in August 2014 and reportedly later joined the US-led coalition in airstrikes on the terror group strongholds in Syria