Pentagon chief Ashton Carter said Friday that the United Arab Emirates wants to deploy commandos to help train forces fighting Takfiri militants of ISIL (so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Levant) and will resume its contribution to the US-led air campaign.
Carter met top UAE officials in Brussels following a landmark summit of anti-ISIL coalition members to discuss ways to step up the fight against the Takfiri group in Iraq and Syria.
“They indicated to me their willingness to do more, which is important, specifically to re-start their participation in the air campaign, secondly to work with us on the ground,” Carter said.
UAE special operations forces would help train and advise — as well as arm — anti-ISIL forces in Syria and local partners in Iraq, including Sunni groups and the Kurdish Peshmerga, Carter said, but did not say how big the force would be.
“What is needed in the Sunni parts of Iraq is capacity among moderate Sunnis to re-occupy and govern that territory and keep a multi-sectarian Iraq together,” Carter said.
“The Emiratis can be an important part of that.”
Carter’s remarks come as world powers met in Munich on Friday and agreed an ambitious plan to cease hostilities in war-racked Syria.
But the Pentagon chief said Munich accord will not apply to ISIL and Al-Qaeda’s local branch.
“There is no ceasefire in the war against ISIL,” Carter said, adding: “be clear about that.”