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Fight against terrorism/Iraq/Syria

Published on September 30, 2014
Interview given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to France 2 (excerpts)
Paris, September 28, 2014

Q. – For several days, despite the Western strikes, the terrorist group Islamic State has been putting up firm resistance. How do you intend to get through this without putting boots on the ground?

THE MINISTER – (…) We, the French, are engaged, with others, in conducting airstrikes. Only this morning, we carried out reconnaissance throughout the area, and there will be more strikes.

We haven’t put boots on the ground because we’re convinced, given previous experience, that we can win this kind of war only if the local people are committed – i.e. the Kurds, the Iraqis. Until now – this has been very well put by Samah Soula – the Sunnis have tended to side with Daesh [ISIL]. Now the situation is changing.

Our role is airstrikes and supplying weaponry.

Q. – So you’re ruling out boots on the ground?

THE MINISTER – I’m absolutely ruling it out.

Q. – Even though we know there are terrorist fighters right in the heart of cities like Mosul, for example, with a million inhabitants?

THE MINISTER – That doesn’t mean there won’t be any fighting on the ground, but that fighting must be carried out by local people, because you can’t flatten things from the outside. (…)./.

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