The Democratic Credentials of the Anti-IS Coalition

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Staff Editor

Many observers have noted that the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State includes several unsavory partners, including Saudi Arabia, which Freedom House consistently rates among the “worst of the worst” in its annual Freedom in the World report.

However, a closer look at the official list of coalition countries and their respective scores reveals that the group is, on average, better at upholding political rights and civil liberties than the world at large.

The actual contributions of tiny and distant states like Luxembourg and Iceland are probably rather small, while those of others, like France, are more substantial. But the overall breakdown of coalition countries indicates that without the involvement of the United States and its democratic allies, the Islamic State crisis would be left in the hands of regional powers with human rights records that range from mediocre to extremely poor, making a positive outcome—which is already in doubt—even less likely.


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Analyses and recommendations offered by the authors do not necessarily reflect those of Freedom House.

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