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Can Obama's coalition of "frenemies" stamp out ISIS?

The U.S. military has begun a new campaign targeting all ISIS forces across northern and western Iraq, gearing up for more aggressive attacks on ISIS as the military carries out the plan laid out by President Obama in his speech Wednesday
How the president's ISIS plan will be carried out 02:30

The nearly 40 nations committed to fighting ISIS together don't always see eye to eye, to put it mildly.

John Kerry: U.S. "needs to support" Iraq in fight against ISIS 02:29

Foreign policy experts say that the cooperation of so many countries, with at times conflicting interests, is a positive sign as the U.S. attempts to stamp out the extremist group. The inclusion of 10 Arab states -- that can seem more like "frenemies" to the United States and each other, rather than true allies -- is especially encouraging, foreign policy experts say.

"It's quite significant, and I'm confident that to the extent that these states have promised to support the effort, they will follow through to that extent," Joseph LeBaron, the former ambassador to Qatar, told CBS News. LeBaron is now a senior adviser at Squire Patton Boggs, a firm that does business with the Government of Qatar, though he himself does not conduct business with the Qatari Government.

"It's always been difficult to get this kind of agreement for action within the region -- open support by Arab states for military action against other Arabs that is led by Western states, especially the United States," LeBaron said, calling it "quite an accomplishment" for Secretary of State John Kerry. "Cobbling together that kind of coalition effort usually has been very, very difficult. His success reflects the region's common sense of danger posed by the Islamic State."

As the coalition begins its years-long effort to destroy ISIS, the nations involved will have to put aside their other differences to some degree. While they look committed now, some question whether the coalition will hold through what's sure to be a long fight.

"There's a lot of parallel interests now among countries that don't have a complete, 100 percent overlap in interests, and that's what gives me some hope that effective action can be taken," said Gregory Gause III, head of the International Affairs Department at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University. "My worry is that once we get some effective action, a lot of people in this coalition might get peeled off. They may say, 'Now I don't have to worry as much about ISIS as... the other people in the coalition.'"

The 10 Arab states that committed on Thursday to the fight against ISIS include the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. The new coalition also includes Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq.

Even within the GCC, there's tension. Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia earlier this year withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar over Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and beyond.

LeBaron said it's encouraging that these nations are still working together in spite of those tensions, calling it further evidence that the dispute over the Muslim Brotherhood "has been confined so far largely to the diplomatic space."

Qatar has also had a complicated relationship with the United States. Qatar hosts one of the most important U.S. military bases in the world, at the al Udeid Air Base. Additionally, the Sunni nation played a key role in negotiating the prisoner swap between the Taliban and the United States to free Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, as well as in the release of American hostage Peter Theo Curtis.

At the same time, Taliban officials live and work in Qatar, and the Sunni nation has control of the often anti-American television network al Jazeera. The U.S. has taken issue with its support for Hamas. Meanwhile, support for Syrian rebel groups coming out of Qatar and other Arab nations may have contributed to the rise of ISIS.

"We have this love-hate relationship with Qatar -- they're our frenemies," David Schenker, director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute, told CBS.

Support for the Syrian rebels was "not as discerning as we would've liked," Schenker said. But "seeing as we weren't involved, they made their own choice."

The rebel groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have fractured in the past year, and now the U.S. and its new coalition are struggling to find moderate rebels to support to take on both Assad and ISIS.

While Arab states may have been less discerning about which rebels to support in Syria, they now have a clear motivation to help destroy ISIS.

"This is an existential issue for them -- it's a problem for us, but this is in their backyard," Schenker said.

The nations now committed to fighting ISIS will have varying roles to play, ranging from financing training for Syrian rebels to conducting air strikes. Qatar could use al Jazeera to help with communications efforts, while Saudi Arabia could also use its influence with religious figures to delegitimize ISIS.

The coalition isn't as strong as the U.S. would like.

The Obama administration says it's encouraged by the formation of a new government in Iraq, but the new prime minister is also currently serving in other key posts -- the roles of interior minister and defense minister.

White House: U.S. "can't dictate" makeup of Iraqi government 02:17

"There certainly is additional work to be done," White House spokesman Josh Earnest conceded Thursday. "And the United States and the international community will be watching Iraq's political leaders... And we will continue to call on them to govern in a way that unites the diverse populations in Iraq... That's critically important when you're a country that's facing an existential threat like Iraq is right now at the hands of ISIL."

Meanwhile, the key nation of Turkey abstained on Thursday from joining the anti-ISIS coalition. Schenker called this a "big, gaping hole" in the group. Not only does Turkey border Iraq and Syria, but it could also bring some real muscle to the effort.

"Turkey's a NATO partner, they have a serious military," Schenker said. "If you wanted a military to help in terms of boots on the ground, you'd be looking especially for Turkish participation in some way."

However, the Turkish government has been hesitant to sign onto the efforts, given that nearly 50 Turkish citizens are still being held hostage by ISIS after being kidnapped from the Turkish consulate the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Earnest on Thursday said that the hostage situation "illustrates that the nation of Turkey has a vested interest in the success of the strategy that the president laid out to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL." He said U.S. officials, including Mr. Obama are engaging in "intensive efforts" to engage with Turkey on the matter.

While the coalition isn't perfect, the broad consensus against ISIS is remarkable. Gause noted that while ISIS's independence may be a short-term advantage, they are ultimately worse off with the region and the world united against them. He pointed to the preservation of Assad as an example of a bad actor that's survived with the help of international allies.

He said of ISIS, "Now that they're in everybody's crosshairs, they'll find having no allies is a not a great place to be."

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