Speed Reads


Mideast leaders are wary of supporting America's anti-ISIS campaign

President Obama is finding unusual bipartisan support in Congress for his plan to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militia, but he's getting less enthusiatic support from most Muslim countries within ISIS's striking distance. Most of the governments in the region want to destroy ISIS, too, but even traditional allies in the region — Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey, for example — are leery of signing on to a U.S.-led campaign, The New York Times reports.

The reasons include the changing makeup of the governments in several of the countries — Turkey has an increasingly less secular government, and Egypt and the U.S. have been at odds since the military deposed the country's first democratically elected president last year — U.S. support for Israel, and circumstances specific to each country. There's also the recent history of U.S. intervention in the Middle East.

"As a student of terrorism for the last 30 years, I am afraid of that formula of 'supporting the American effort,'" said Diaa Rashwan at Egypt's state-supported Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. "It is very dangerous."

At the same time, Shiite Muslims fear ISIS because it wants to kill them as apostates, and Sunnis fear ISIS because few of them want to live in a strictly conservative, harsh caliphate. One Sunni tribesman in Raqqa, Syria — and ISIS stronghold — tells The Times that at this point he'd accept help "from Satan, not because we like Satan." Here's a roundup of how several key national players reacted to Obama's speech. --Peter Weber