Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders Thursday called for a new alliance among the United States, its closest allies, Russia and some Arab nations to defeat the rise of terrorist groups like the Islamic State group, the Hill reported. In the past, NATO was a major alliance against the former Soviet Union.

“We must create an organization like NATO to confront the security threats of the 21st century -- an organization that emphasizes cooperation and collaboration to defeat the rise of violent extremism and importantly to address the root causes underlying these brutal acts,” Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, said during a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, the Hill reported. “We must work with our NATO partners, and expand our coalition to include Russia and members of the Arab League.”


Sanders said the fight against ISIS “must be done primarily by Muslim nations with the strong support of their global partners,” the Hill reported. He criticized a number of U.S. allies including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, saying they have “contributed far too little in the fight against ISIS.” Sanders said Qatar spent a reported $200 billion on the 2022 FIFA World Cup, “yet very little to fight against ISIS.” 

In the wake of the Paris attacks -- for which ISIS claimed responsibility -- that killed at least 129 people, defeating the terrorist group has become a major focus in many presidential candidates’ campaigns. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton also called for the U.S. to take a firmer role rallying international efforts against ISIS while ruling out U.S. ground troops.  

“What we have done with airstrikes has made a difference but now it needs to make a greater difference and we need more of a coalition flying those missions with us,” Clinton said Thursday, the Hill reported. “We have pieces in place but I think we have to deepen and better coordinate not only within our own country and Europe but more broadly.”