Obama names new envoy to anti-IS coalition

Washington, Oct 24 (IANS) US President Barack Obama has named White House advisor on Iraq Brett McGurk as his new special envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State (IS) terror group, the media reported.

Starting next month, McGurk will substitute retired General John Allen, who has been Obama’s special envoy to the coalition since September 2014, EFE news reported.

In a statement issued on Friday from the White House, Obama noted that Allen “has met that challenge with tremendous ability and courage”.

“American leadership of this coalition is making the world a safer place, and we have been fortunate to have a great patriot like John Allen leading our efforts,” the president said.

Obama also expressed his “profound gratitude” to Allen, for whom he wished a “well-earned retirement from government service” after a long career that included almost 38 years in the US Marines in such areas as the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Among other posts, Allen was head of NATO troops in Afghanistan between 2011-13, and during the Iraq war he served as deputy commander in Anbar province, where he played an important part in strengthening relations with the Sunni tribes.

As for McGurk, formerly Allen’s deputy, Obama said that for some time he has been “one of my most trusted advisors on Iraq”.

“Brett has my full support as he continues broadening and deepening our coalition efforts to degrade and ultimately destroy the IS,” the president said.

In 2014, Obama ordered the return of US troops to Iraq to advise and assist Iraqi forces in their fight against the advances of the IS.

Since then he has also promoted an international campaign of air attacks against IS positions in Iraq and Syria in which 65 countries have participated.

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