By Mick Krever, CNN
ISIS is a “deviated cult” that cannot be tolerated - or withstood, as he put it - in the region, Bahrain’s foreign minister told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.
“We urge every cleric and every place of scholarship in the Muslim religion to really stand out and say clear words, and very clear terms, that this is not Islam, and they are not Muslims – this is a very deviated cult,” Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa said.
Bahrain was one of five Arab allies that joined with the United States in Tuesday’s early hours to strike at ISIS targets in Syria – the first U.S. military intervention in Syria’s three-year conflict.
Al Khalifa confirmed to Amanpour that Bahraini participated militarily in the operation, using F16s to strike targets.
Bahrain will continue to be part of the coalition for “as long as it takes,” he said.
“We know that this is a threat to sovereignty and integrity of countries. There is a declared state that transcends borders. We know that this is something that targeted civilians, and displaced them in the hundreds of thousands – attacked mosques, churches, people of different sects and religions – Yazidis, Christians, Muslims, Shiites, Sunnis.”
And while fighting ISIS militarily is important, he said, cutting off their financing is “half of the work.”
“You have to not allow one dollar to go into their pockets.”
Bahrain will hold a meeting to try to achieve this end in the coming days, he told Amanpour.
The international community, long wary to involve itself in Syria’s war, cannot limit itself to going after ISIS, he said.
“Fighting ISIS, or Daesh as we call it, is one battle. This is only one state that’s been declared by an al Qaeda affiliate.”
Just as important is to worry about all the other al Qaeda affiliates – and indeed Hezbollah in Lebanon and other terrorist groups, he said – that are terrorizing civilian populations in Syria and elsewhere.
“We need to have a holistic approach to the matter, and we need to find a solution to all of that.”
“We have a coalition. We have about forty countries that expressed their interest and support for the operations against Daesh and other terrorist groups. So we do have international support. And we do see it as a legitimate way of protecting people and peoples’ lives in the region.”