Speaking on ABC Radio National's RN Drive, Carnegie’s Mario Abou Zeid said that the United States is attempting to integrate an Islamic State alliance and limit its funding and support for efforts to hunt down Islamic State leadership and fighters. However, Abou Zeid pointed out that in order to defeat the jihadist group, a three-pronged approach must be looked at, one that includes not only a military strategy, but also a strategy for religious and cultural reform.

Abou Zeid warned that the sectarian dimension of the conflict cannot be ignored. If, for example, any Shiite force were to join the alliance against the Islamic State, it would give the jihadist group the justification to present itself as a victim of regional Shiite expansion, and thus, enable the group to recruit more fighters and gain power in the region’s Sunni communities.

This interview was originally broadcast on ABC Radio National’s RN Drive.