Saudi Arabia Accepts U.S. Request To Provide Bases For Anti-ISIS Operations

Posted: Sep 10, 2014 7:54 PM

Today, Saudi Arabia has agreed to provide bases to train anti-ISIS forces at the request of the United States. This comes prior to Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Saudi Arabia tomorrow as he plans to meet with Turkish, Iraqi, Egyptian, Jordanian, and Lebanese officials on how to combat the growing threat emanating from the Islamic State.  These forces will also confront Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's army as well (via NYT):

Saudi Arabia has indicated that it would agree to an American request to provide bases to train moderate Syrian opposition fighters, American officials said on Wednesday.

Saudi willingness to host a training program comes as Secretary of State John Kerry is preparing to fly to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday morning for a high-level strategy session on how to counter to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The meeting that is being hosted by the Saudis will also include senior officials from Arab states in the Persian Gulf region, as well as Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.

A senior State Department official said a number of initiatives to weaken ISIS would be stepped up, including efforts to stop the flow of money to the terrorist group by cracking down on oil smuggling and curtailing contributions from private donors.

On the military front, the State Department official said regional defense ministers would meet soon to discuss expanded basing and over-flight rights so the United States and other nations could broaden their airstrikes against ISIS.

Plans for training and arming moderate Syrian rebels so they can confront ISIS and the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus are also expected to be discussed in Jeddah.

The Arab League has condemned ISIS an its members have agreed to confront ISIS “militarily and politically.” President Obama will deliver his speech on ISIS later tonight around 9pm. Here’s a preview from Katie.

UPDATE: Here's Katie's write up of the our semi-retired president's speech last night on ISIS.  Here's Guy's analysis