US urges us to fight IS nearby

The Observer - - NATION NEWS -

THE man in charge of more than 80,000 US marines is urg­ing Aus­tralia to be ready to join op­er­a­tions against Is­lamic State mil­i­tants in South-East Asia.

Lieu­tenant Gen­eral David Berger is vis­it­ing Aus­tralia as Tal­is­man Sabre mil­i­tary ex­er­cises get rolling in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory and off Rock­hamp­ton.

He told the ABC the “move­ment of vi­o­lent ex­trem­ist or­gan­i­sa­tions” was a “very real prob­lem” for coun­tries such as Malaysia, the Philip­pines and In­done­sia.

The com­mand­ing gen­eral of US Ma­rine Corps Forces Pa­cific ex­pected Aus­tralian forces could soon join US per­son­nel fight­ing Is­lamic ex­trem­ists in the re­gion.

He said Aus­tralia’s neigh­bours would need as­sis­tance to stop the threat posed by IS-in­spired mil­i­tants.

“It’s ... a threat that moves in or­der to sur­vive – it doesn’t own a state so it’s mo­bile,” he said.

The ex­er­cises in­volve more than 30,000 Aus­tralian, US and New Zealand troops, 21 ships, in­clud­ing air­craft car­rier USS Ron­ald Rea­gan, and 200 air­craft.

PHOTO: JA­SON REED/REUTERS

STARTER’S FLAG: US Navy Ad­mi­ral Harry Har­ris and Aus­tralian Navy Vice Ad­mi­ral David John­ston un­furl the Tal­is­man Sabre 2017 flag off Syd­ney yes­ter­day.

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