National Security

French Ambassador Calls For Ground Troops To Fight Islamic State

French Ambassador to the United States Gerard Araud told Andrea Mitchell Wednesday morning that air strikes would not be enough to defeat the Islamic States, and that ground troops would be needed.

"Now we are striking with the Russians and also with the Americans, because we have a common enemy, obviously, which is ISIS [the Islamic State]," Araud said. "But you don't win a war with planes, so we need ground forces.

Araud said that French President Francois Hollande believes ground forces would be necessary to recapture territory in Syria from the Islamic caliphate. He also said a political transition would be needed to end the civil war between rebel forces and the Assad regime.

"To have strong forces, we need to put an end to the Syrian civil war," Araud said. "So I think it's really important that our coalition is also a political coalition so that we have a political transition in Syria."

The comments made by the French ambassador go against President Obama’s red line that he will not put American boots on the ground in Syria, even though he sent 50 Special Operations troops to help Kurdish and Arab forces fight the terror group. The White House has labeled the change of course as an "intensification" of the president’s current strategy to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State, making a point to add that the troops do not have a combat mission.

After the Paris attack and bomb that brought down a Russian plane flying over Egypt, Araud said there is a new urgency to form a political coalition that can properly respond to the threat of the terror group. Hollande, who has expressed frustration with the lack of progress the international community has made, is flying to Washington D.C. to meet with Obama next week.

"We can’t wait 18 months, two years, we have to solve it right now," Araud said of finding a political solution in Syria.

Araud added that U.S. cooperation with French authorities has been very helpful in recent days, but intelligence cooperation could have been better before the terrorist attack that killed over 130 people in Paris.