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General Dempsey: Arab Nations Need to Help in ISIS Fight

The success of the campaign plan to retake territory held by ISIS depends on getting more Arab help, the top U.S. military officer said Sunday.

ZAGREB, Croatia — The U.S.-led military campaign plan to retake Iraqi territory held by ISIS calls for attacking the extremists from several directions simultaneously, and its success depends on getting more Arab help, the top American military officer said Sunday.

"We want them to wake up every day realizing that they are being squeezed from multiple directions," Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham.

"If we can get ISIL (ISIS) looking in about five different directions, that's the desired end state," he added in an interview with reporters traveling with him to Croatia from Lithuania, where he discussed Iraq and other issues with his NATO counterparts.

Dempsey stressed the importance of gaining more Arab participation in the U.S.-led effort, suggesting that without it the military campaign might not move to its next phase. He called wider Arab participation a prerequisite for President Barack Obama's approval of the military campaign plan. Obama was briefed on the plan last week but has not okayed it.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, on Sunday's Meet the Press said the administration is pleased with its progress in building a coalition — but she did not name any individual Arab countries.