Singapore First Southeast Asian Nation to Join Fight Against IS

Singapore will contribute military personnel and equipment to the U.S.-led coalition combating Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, becoming the first Southeast Asian nation to join the effort.

The Singapore Armed Forces will offer liaison and planning officers, a KC-135R tanker aircraft for air-to-air refueling and an imagery analyst team coalition named “Operation Inherent Resolve,” Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in Parliament today. Singapore becomes the 34th country to join the coalition, he said.

“If this terrorism threat is allowed to grow and spread, innocent civilians here and elsewhere could be endangered and killed,” said Ng. “By contributing to the international effort to tackle the threat at source, we are contributing directly to our own security.”

The violence and brutality committed by terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria pose a threat to the Middle East and, if left unchecked, the world, the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations said in a statement in September. The U.S. and its allies are expanding their efforts to curtail Islamic State’s finances and its appeal to young Muslims, and there are signs that U.S-led air strikes have broken the group’s momentum, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Oct. 31.

Reviewed Annually

There will be no Singapore combat troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria, and SAF soldiers will operate from surrounding countries, said Ng. The length of deployment will be reviewed annually, he said.

“It is in Singapore’s interest to support the multinational efforts against ISIS,” said Ng. “ISIS exports terrorism to our region, whether by sending foreign terrorists to carry out terrorist operations, or by radicalizing regional elements who engage in violence in Iraq, Syria and subsequently their home countries.”

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