Hollande hopes for U.S.-Russia unified front for 'vast coalition' in ISIS fight

(CNN)French President François Hollande has called for a "vast coalition" to fight ISIS, but he acknowledged Wednesday a significant potential roadblock -- not all the players needed for this unified front currently trust each other.

"I know well that not all countries share the same interests, don't have the same conceptions, don't have necessarily the same allies," Hollande said Wednesday.
Specifically, Hollande knows that for his proposed coalition to bear fruit, he needs to convince two of the most active players in Syria -- the United States and Russia -- to put aside their strategic differences and increase their practical cooperation.
In twin meetings next week in Washington and Moscow, Hollande plans to bring his case directly to President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
    France, the U.S. and Russia are all conducting strikes in Syria, and Hollande is pitching that better collaboration of activity could be key in destroying the group.
    France has been pounding the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa with airstrikes since Sunday, stepping up its own military efforts as the French people grieve the loss of more than 120 killed in the terrorist attacks last week, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility.
    Russia, for its part, has launched cruise missiles against ISIS in apparent retaliation for the bombing of a Russian passenger jet over Egypt last month.
    Both the U.S. and Russia have focused attacks on ISIS' oil operations, hammering trucks and other infrastructure.
    And those two governments have been coordinating on deconfliction -- alerting each other in advance of strikes to avoid potential collisions in Syrian airspace.
    But Obama is leery of engaging in a broader alliance, particularly when it comes to intelligence sharing.
    The U.S. has criticized Russia, as well as Iran, for propping up the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Obama has said must be removed from power for Syria's civil war to be resolved.
    "At some point the Russians and the Iranians are going to have to make a fundamental decision," Obama said Thursday while in the Philippines. "Do they actually believe that they can prop up Assad and win on the ground militarily inside Syria against all the opposition, or do they actually think that it is better to save the Syrian state and work with the international community and the UN to find a government that truly can be legitimate."
    Obama has also blasted Russia in the past for focusing their strikes on groups his administration backs and considers part of the moderate Syrian opposition movement.
    Still, the U.S. sees potential for Russia to play a positive role in the region, and has entered into diplomatic talks with Russia, Iran and others, with the end goal of bringing about a new round of elections in Syria.
    "If we get a better understanding with Russia about the process for bringing an end to the Syrian civil war, that obviously opens up more opportunities for coordination with respect to ISIL," Obama said Wednesday, using another name for ISIS.