The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2018

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018 37 closer to the fight, it is important to recognize that most members of the coalition are not active in Operation Inherent Resolve. Some are battling ISIS in their own spaces, like Afghanistan or the coun- tries of the Lake Chad Basin region. Some countries fighting ISIS are not in the coalition at all—for instance, the Philippines, which recently drove ISIS forces out of Marawi on the island of Mindanao. Some members are not engaged in any active kinetic fighting, but are outraged that their citizens have been the victims of ISIS external operations or fear possible attacks on their homelands. Though the numbers are not precise, it is safe to say that since it appeared in 2014, ISIS has inspired or directed more than 175 attacks in more than two dozen countries, killing more than 2,300 innocent civilians; and the group increasingly claims credit for attacks even when there is no apparent connection. Fear andmoral outrage are undoubtedly strong incentives for countries to join with the United States under the banner of the coalition, but that does not explain why they stay—or why this loose collaborative effort continues to grow (as of this writing, Cameroon is the most recent country to join, in November 2017). But part of the answer may lie in how the United States runs the coalition day-to-day. The Role of U.S. Leadership The individuals chosen to lead this coalition have had a big impact on its success. The military leadership fromGeneral Lloyd Austin and now General Joseph Votel of U.S. CENTCOM is a criti- cal piece of the puzzle—even though most of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS does not participate in the military effort in Iraq and Syria. Under General (ret.) John Allen and then Brett McGurk and his deputy, Lt. General (ret.) Terry Wolff, the coalition has benefited from both visionary and talented civilian leadership. As the first special envoy to lead the coalition, Gen. Allen breathed life into its non-military lines of effort, establishing the four working groups and recruiting 10 countries and members of the U.S. interagency community to take on the role of co-leads for these groups. The current co-leads hail from the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Turkey, Kuwait and Germany, as well as from the U.S. depart- ments of State and Treasury. McGurk, who took over fromGen. Allen in November 2016, brought with him a long history of fighting extremism in the region and continuous service to the cause under now three presidents. Famously, McGurk was visiting Kurdistan, in northern Iraq, when ISIS seized Mosul in 2014. Our coalition partners have appreciated the steady leadership, regional insight and continuity McGurk and Wolff bring to the U.S. effort. The coalition has also benefited from the strong sup- port of both President Obama and President Donald Trump. Its first-ever all-coalition ministerial meeting in March 2017 was one of the first major events Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hosted. And National Security Presidential Memorandum 3, issued on Jan. 28, 2017, calls for the “identification of new coalition partners in the fight against ISIS and policies to empower coalition part- ners to fight ISIS and its affiliates.” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq Haider Jawad Al-Abadi in a bilateral session during the Global Coalition meeting at the Department of State on March 22, 2017. Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Brett McGurk is at the Secretary’s left; the Secretary’s Chief of Staff Margaret Peterlin is to his right. U.S.DepartmentofState