After the third ISIS beheading video was released Saturday, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that a former commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan would be coming on board to help lead the administration’s coalition-building effort against the Islamic State.
“The United States has asked one of our most respected and experienced military experts, General John Allen, to join the State Department to serve as Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL,” Kerry said in a statement tonight. “In this role, General Allen will help build and sustain the coalition so it can operate across multiple lines of effort in order to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.”
Last year, Allen became the fourth Afghanistan commander to leave under President Obama. He was scheduled for a February 2013 transition to be Commander of United States European Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, but retired instead.
“General Allen is a patriot and a remarkable leader. His extraordinary career in the military speaks for itself,” Kerry continued. “Whether as the top commander of NATO’s ISAF forces in Afghanistan during a critical period from 2011-2013, or as a deputy commander in Anbar during the Sunni awakening, or as a thinker, scholar, and teacher at the U.S. Naval Academy. And he has done significant public service out of uniform since he returned to civilian life. His commitment to country and to service has really been enduring.”
“Most recently we worked together very closely in designing new approaches to meet the long-term security needs of the state of Israel, and I could not be more pleased than to have General Allen coming on board now fulltime at the State Department.”
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk, who said earlier this month that an ISIS strategy included the belief that Sunni tribal leaders will get “sick and tired” of the terror group and kick them out of territory, will serve as Allen’s deputy senior envoy with the rank of ambassador.
“Not only has Brett been back and forth to Baghdad and Erbil almost every month this past year, but he has also spent a number of years over the past decade posted in Iraq as a top advisor to three different ambassadors,” Kerry said. “Brett is one of our foremost experts on Iraq, and he will be integral to this effort’s success. Both General Allen and Ambassador McGurk will begin work immediately.”