Obama names envoy to run anti-ISIS campaign
General John Allen steps down after a year marked by setbacks, policy reversals and increasing regional chaos
President Barack Obama on Friday tapped veteran Iraq expert Brett McGurk to coordinate the troubled U.S. campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, the White House said.
Announcing the departure of General John Allen, who steps down after a year marked by setbacks, policy reversals and increasing regional chaos, Obama described McGurk as “one of my most trusted advisers on Iraq.”
Allen played a key role in trying to hold together the disparate 65-member coalition who have vowed to roll back ISIS’s territorial gains.
The bloc has sometimes struggled, with the White House reluctant to dramatically gear up U.S. involvement and key members of the coalition holding divergent aims and differing degrees of commitment.
The task has only become more complex since Russia and Iran have intervened to prop up the Syrian government and deepen ties with Baghdad.
Obama offered his “profound gratitude” to Allen, who spent 38 years in the Marine, saying he had met the “challenge with tremendous ability and courage.”
McGurk had most recently been Allen’s deputy, focusing largely on efforts to with Sunni tribal leaders and the Iraqi government to take back Ramadi.
It is unclear if his appointment signals a rethink in policy, which critics say has floundered in recent months.
Obama recently scrapped a $600 million mission to train Syrian opposition fighters to take on ISIS.
The group controls swathes of northern Syria and is within striking distance of Baghdad.
On Thursday, a serviceman became the first American to be killed in action since the fight began in Iraq in June 2014.
He was in a contingent of Kurdish and U.S. forces that stormed a prison in northern Iraq, freeing some 70 captives who were facing imminent execution, the Pentagon said.
Obama and Erdogan vow to step up ISIS fightBoth countries have vowed to fight the extremists, but Turkish air strikes have largely focused on targeting Kurdish militia group the PKK Middle East
Obama: Defeating ISIS requires ‘new leader’ in SyriaSyrian President Assad’s fate is the key bone of contention between Washington and the Syrian leader’s Russian and Iranian allies Middle East
Anchor goes viral after slamming ‘Obama’s friendly with ISIS’ policyHer comments came as a response to the fatal shooting of four U.S. Marines and one active-duty Navy reservist, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last Thursday Digital
Obama, Erdogan seek stronger ties against ISISThe White House said regional security remained a top priority, and pledged to work closely with Turkey Middle East
Obama pledges continued ISIS crackdownThe U.S. president said that the process will take time and require local forces on the ground Middle East
Obama at Pentagon for update on anti-ISIS campaignThe briefing on US-led efforts to dismantle the militant group follows coalition air strikes that hit the ISIS’s de facto Syrian capital Raqa over the weekend World News