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West must include Syria stronghold in ISIS fight, says NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

September 5th, 2014
03:00 PM ET

Click here to watch Amanpour's full interview with Rasmussen.

By Mick Krever, CNN

The West must include ISIS’s Syria stronghold in its effort to defeat it, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Friday.

There is “no doubt that Syria and Iraq should be looked upon as a whole. Many of the problems originate from the internal conflict in Syria. There is a clear spill over to the region.”

“And that’s why I think the international community will have to address these problems as a whole.”

The United States said at the conclusion of a NATO summit on Friday that it would seek to assemble a coalition to confront ISIS. President Barack Obama has said that the goal is to “degrade and destroy” ISIS.

But the White House has not said yet whether Syria, a country President Obama has long been wary of becoming involved in military, would be included its efforts.

“It has been very hard to see a military solution to the conflict in Syria,” Rasmussen said. “And still I think a long-term, sustainable solution will take a strong political and diplomatic effort.”

“But the bottom line is that we have seen the rise of this terrorist organization, the Islamic State, that has committed horrific atrocities, and now I see it as an obligation for the international community to stop it, to defeat it, and take the necessary steps to that end.”

Rasmussen said that he saw a “strong political will” at the NATO summit to do what it takes to stop ISIS.

He would not go into details about what the allies had discussed, but emphasized ISIS is a threat not only to the region, but to the entire world.

“The international community has I would call it an obligation to take the necessary steps to defeat this terrorist organization.”

“A number of allies will try to establish a coalition to also take military action against this terrorist organization, the so-called Islamic State. And I really welcome that, because we need a military operation to stop the Islamic State from advancing further.”

‘They must stop their support’

ISIS of course is not the only issue facing NATO. The organization is getting back to its roots, determining how to deal with Russia and its incursion into Ukraine.

Friday brought news of a cease fire between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists.

“I hope this declaration of a cease fire could be the start of a constructive political process,” Rasmussen said.

“There is no doubt that the Russians must withdraw their troops from Ukraine, from the Ukrainian border; they must stop the flow of weapons and fighters into Ukraine; they must stop their support for armed separatists; and engage in a constructive political dialogue.”

He told Amanpour that the NATO measures the number of regular Russian troops present in eastern Ukraine “in several thousands.”

NATO this week announced the creation of a new reaction force that will be able to respond to any incursions into Eastern Europe in two days.

“We have seen that the Russians can act very speedily, and obviously we will have to adapt to that. And I think it has a strong deterrent effect that any potential aggressors knows that if they were to attack a NATO ally, they would meet troops not only from that specific country, but from the NATO alliance as a whole.”

Encouraging Afghan signs

This NATO summit was originally intended to focus on Afghanistan; it is the last such meeting before NATO forces are set to withdraw from the country at the end of this year.

The two presidential candidates in that country, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, are locked in a standoff over elections earlier this year.

“Actually we received a quite encouraging political message from the two presidential candidates that they will do their utmost to reach a political agreement,” Rasmussen said. “And that was highly appreciated by the participants in our meeting.”

Both candidates have vowed to sign an agreement to keep some Western forces in the country after 2014. Until one is in office, of course, neither can sign.

“I think the presidential candidates know very well that a lot is at stake, because if they don’t find a solution soon, and if there will be no signature soon on the necessary security agreements, then we can’t stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014.”

Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Latest Episode • Syria
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Name*vusi vusi

    nato must leave russia alone & focus in iraq (isis),innocent peop are dying there

    September 5, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Reply
    • NATO(New American Terrorist Organaization)

      NATO was established to protect Soviet Union but now it's totally useless that can do nothing

      September 5, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Reply
      • Amir

        @ NATO – shouldnt you be busy sucking allahs bullah ?

        September 6, 2014 at 4:05 am |
    • Awabnavi

      Amir isn't it time for your LINGAM PUJA – penis worshiping/mouthing?

      September 6, 2014 at 10:09 am | Reply
    • john

      Russia should keep out of Ukraine and Nato would not impose sanctions .......simple

      September 6, 2014 at 10:57 am | Reply

        There is absolutely no Russian "invasion" of Eastern Ukraine. It's all made up unsubstantiated "facts" and toxic fictions. Russia wouldn't touch Ukraine with a ten foot pole. What is factual is many Americans, French and Spanish have joined the fight against the militants of the Kiev junta, and many Ukrainian soldiers have deserted and have sought sanctuary in Russia.

        September 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
  2. TOVAR

    its nice to be able to post again.

    September 5, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Reply
    • NATO(New American Terrorist Organaization)

      Nothing special, the post will be deleted if its not pro-USA, doesn't matter it's true or false..

      September 5, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Reply
  3. Jeroh Kabin

    Can any Muslim tell us what mohamed contributed to humanity? Tell me five qualities/teachings of his that are relevant and useful today and which Muslim majority nations ( name 5 out of 57) practice them?

    September 5, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Reply
    • Ali Shahmil

      some contributions of modern day Islam to any civilized society: 1) Jihad 2) Terror 3) Polygamy 4) Hatred 5) Al-taqiyya 6) How to lie and make ppl believe you.... 7) subjugate women 8) Intolerance 9) how to turn traitor

      September 5, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • NATO(New American Terrorist Organaization)

      You may not know, according to the rule of Qur'an (Mohammad), ISIS is not Muslim.
      Arabic territory was full of evils when Mohammad was born. Mohammad ruled them and established peace. Study Qur'an, will know everything,,

      September 5, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Reply
      • bukkake

        why the eff should we read the Quran? I don't need to read it, you NEED to read OTHER Books. And if muhammad did cure some evils in saudi at that time then its good, but YOU DONT NEED TO SPREAD IT ALL OVER THE WORLD. the world isn't facing the same problems and same evils so keep your teachings in your place (although it is outdated) but please DO NOT TRY TO EXPORT YOUR "prophets teachings" here as it DOES NOT APPLY.

        September 5, 2014 at 5:56 pm |
      • frank

        Ur a furkcing muslim as.ohole!!!! Ur a mad community, like rabied dogs. u and ur quran and all that crap shud be thrown on ur ditry face!!!

        September 6, 2014 at 12:12 am |
      • halal pprk

        NATO can you please help me – i have run out of toilet paper – can you give me your QURAN – i heard its best used for wiping asses

        September 6, 2014 at 7:24 am |
  4. Media Propaganda

    Democrats and Republicans are converging on this ISIS Propaganda.

    We need an alternative to these identical parties in 2016.

    September 5, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Reply
    • John Davidson

      We need a Multi-party system to keep this in check (not a 2 party system that is sold out to the highest bidder)

      September 5, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  5. NATO

    NATO is following Obama's plan to divide the area, Iraq and Syria should be looked upon as "a whole", Kurdish self-ruling Area is rising with all the Oil, weapons (supplied by the west to "fight" ISIS).....
    Libya is being divided to several areas, same goes for Sudan......both conflicts surround Egypt which is fighting terrorism, Syria is being divided and Lebanon is next...........

    September 5, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  6. NATO

    NATO cares about Russia supporting people who don't want to be part of Ukraine and fight for their freedom, calling them "separatists", "Terrorists".....
    Names and definitions change by the West, UN and NATO depend on what they want to achieve. Supported by a hellish media, they can do whatever they please or more specifically: whatever their "sponsors" want

    September 5, 2014 at 5:20 pm | Reply
    • NATO(New American Terrorist Organaization)

      Obama and Fogh have been giving too many speeches on CNN since the crises began but no improvement they can made and finally Putin brings peace, a 7-steps peace plane that is already working, both side stopped shutting, bombing and civilians are already coming their home. That the great leader of the world, a real hero,,

      September 5, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Reply
  7. alberguedoslagos

    Wait a minute...I thought we created ISIS and that Al Bagadadi was a mossad agent named elliot shimon......

    September 5, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  8. Syrially

    By the way Mr. Rasmussen, ISIS is using US, and NATO equipment and weapons; some of what is supplied to moderate fighters in Syrian Opposition. the hypocrisy has no limitation with you and your allies Mr. Rasmussen, you and your gang set the fire in Syria and the region, and now you want to work as a "firefighter". Do you have the courage to tell your people the truth about that? and then held accountable for this crisis in the ME. I doubt that.

    A message from Syrian citizen.

    September 5, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Reply

      Cameron and Obama, in their obsession to torture and kill Bashar-al Assad and destroy the Syrian government whom they character assassinated and demonized, backed, financed armed and effectively created ISIL blood soaked killers to slaughter the Syrians. Their scheme backfired, the ISIL turned on the Iraqis instead.

      September 7, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  9. NATO(New American Terrorist Organaization)

    Last year, Obama administration funded, armed these separatists to remove Bashar al-Assad but unfortunately these separatists made ISIS and become a danger for the hole world.

    September 5, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  10. alberguedoslagos

    this guy Rasmussen is a joker. He likes to see his picture on the news too much. I have never seen anyone lie and create so much propaganda for the west before.....Who hired this guy? He was gung ho for the Iraq war and somebody spilled red paint all over him while yelling "you have blood on your hands". Obviously he didn't get the message. Apparently he's still gung ho for war but now he wants to be in the middle of a nuclear war....good luck. The world would be a much better place without him as the secty' general of nato......

    September 5, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Reply
    • NATO(New American Terrorist Organaization)

      hahha,,, right,, He is so funny,, Once upon a time he had a secret meeting/conversation with Putin when he was Prime Minister of Denmark and Putin discussed "how to stop USA's one world government system and make a strong Europe without USA" But Fogh secretly recorded the conversation and sent the record to Washington, after that Fogh was selected for NATO's secretary general and a US-Russia problems began,,

      September 5, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  11. MF Hussain

    Corrections. The west needs to include Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in its effort to defeat ISIS. unless you go to the source the bush fires will never die down.

    September 5, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Reply
  12. Propaganda

    The world has become so contrived that it is hard to say now what is truth and what is falsehood.

    September 5, 2014 at 6:09 pm | Reply
  13. [url=]This be insane[/url]

    What is this ISIS? never heard of it before. It seems to have cropped up all of a sudden from nowhere and the west seems to be chasing it as if it is a force to reckon with!

    September 5, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Reply
  14. [url=]Scenes[/url]

    The US has a lot of resources and land. I do not know why they want to get involved in everything everywhere. Is somebody pushing them to do so? I don't think the common citizen in America wants to have anything to do with this. Then who is making USA do this?

    September 5, 2014 at 6:24 pm | Reply
  15. IndoChina

    Perhaps we should now be reading multiple news outlets while forming our opinion as most of them currently serve the interests of one country or the other.

    September 5, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  16. t

    ........All of this..............ALL OF due entirely to W. Bush's ill-advised and possibly illegal Iraqi invasion.

    September 5, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Reply
  17. Turker Yasin

    Mr.Obama,Obama,Obama is making a big mistake to listen to Mr.Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan about the war against ISIS.He is talking about 9 NATO countries becoming involved.What makes him think Turkey is going to help him.Until yesterday the Turkish President and his cabinet were helping ISIS in Syria.Five months ago the Turkish Militery stopped trailers being transported from Turkey to Syria that they later found out they were filled with weapons and chemicals which was covered up by the Mr.Erdogan and his cabinet.Now the Military mens that stopped the trailers are now in jail.Hundreds of terrorist have come through Turkey and into Syria and Iraq to help ISIS and the Turkish president on their side.Turkish President is trying to turn Turkey into a dictatorship.He is not to be trusted.He stole billions of dollars from Turkey and gave it to the terrorist.PLEASE HE IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED. Thank you.

    September 5, 2014 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  18. Tom

    ISIS, USA, Russia...
    China: let them fight! I like none of them!
    ps: it is time to give Russia a lesson and let Russia to taste the flavor of being splited and bullied!

    September 6, 2014 at 5:24 am | Reply
  19. halal pprk

    just read this on a pakistani website – when you see a muslim – please say BULLAHU AKBAR – bullah is pakistani for penis – pass this around

    September 6, 2014 at 7:25 am | Reply
    • Awabnavi

      And when you see a Hindhu remind him of LINGAM PUJA – penis worship. LOL!

      September 6, 2014 at 10:07 am | Reply
  20. Thorns

    Syria must be a part... no wait, they must be the boots on the ground. Just give Assad weapons and shut the stupid human rights bull crap. Let him take care of it. And as a bonus, once the war is done, he will be a wests pawn in the middle east. There is no way he's going to be any part of the rest of the mid east gang for what they have done to him.

    September 6, 2014 at 9:38 am | Reply
  21. Awabnavi

    YEAH! Now that the Syrian "REBELS" are taking over Western OIL in Iraq its time to attack them. LOL!

    September 6, 2014 at 10:03 am | Reply
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