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U.S. presidential candidates call for new strategies to combat IS

By Andrew V. Pestano
1/11
U.S. presidential candidates call for new strategies to combat IS
The three remaining Democratic presidential candidates met in Iowa on Saturday for the second Democratic debate. Photo by Steve Pope/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential candidates are calling for a broad international coalition to fight the Islamic State following the attacks in Paris on Friday, while Republican candidates have proposed various strategies, including a no-fly zone over Syria, ground troops and close scrutiny of mosques in the United States.

GOP front-runner Donald Trump said Monday the United States should "strongly consider" shutting down several mosques.

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"I would hate to do it, but it would be something that you're going to have strongly consider," Trump told MSNBC. "Some of the ideas, some of the hatred, absolute hatred, is coming from these areas."

At the second Democratic debate on Saturday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called IS the leading threat to the security of the United States and the world, adding that American leadership is "essential."

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Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, now in second place for the GOP nomination, called for the United States to reconsider its plan to resettle refugees from Syria in the United States.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders referred in Saturday's debate to the battle against IS as a battle "for the soul of Islam," adding that Muslim countries "are going to have to get their hands dirty and put their boots on the ground" to help lead the effort against IS.

Sanders also said just 10 percent of the military's budget is directed toward international terrorism and instead is preoccupied with nuclear weapons and Cold War tactics.

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Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, blamed what he called a lack of good intelligence about what is going on in the Middle East on an overemphasis on military action, calling it the "greatest failing of the last 10 or 15 years."

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, said the United States should intervene, but not necessarily with ground troops, adding that "America cannot afford to let a transnational threat like ISIS survive, hold territory and grow."

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Former Republican Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said President Barack Obama should "lead" in the fight against the IS.

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"That's what I want him to do. I want him to lead," Bush told NBC. "He has the capability of doing this. We have the resources to do this. This is a threat to Western civilization, and we should consider it that way."

Bush said a no-fly zone should be declared over Syria and that Kurdish rebel fighters should be armed directly.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz posted a statement Friday to Facebook, saying, "We need to immediately declare a halt to any plans to bring refugees that may have been infiltrated by ISIS to the United States. We need to redouble our efforts to prevent ISIS agents from penetrating our nation by other means."

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Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham warned that "there is a 9/11 coming" if the United States does not lead a ground war against the IS, adding that France should invoke the NATO provision that if France declares war on the IS, so must the United States.

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"They should. The world should be at war with ISIL," Graham told CNN. "I'm trying to protect America from another 9/11, and without American boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq, we're gonna get hit here at home, and if you don't understand that, you're not ready to be commander-in-chief in my view."

Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, another GOP candidate, said the White House strategy should include Arab allies in a transnational force to combat the IS.

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Several Republicans have also criticized Obama's strategy of combating the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL.

"First off, you have a strategic failure on behalf of the administration on not having a real plan to fight ISIS," the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, California Rep. Devin Nunes, said on the Face the Nation CBS program Sunday, adding that U.S. intelligence agencies are "losing the capability to track these terrorists around the globe."

Meanwhile, some U.S. governors have announced they will oppose any attempts to relocate Syrian refugees in their states.

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