Monday, September 22, 2014

Global Impact: Airstrikes Inside Syria Mount as IS Threatens Retribution in US, Abroad

According to The Associated Pressthe US and partner nations began launching airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) targets in Syria for the first time Monday night (September 22), expanding a military campaign against the militants with a mix of fighter jets, bombers and Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from ships in the region.

Because the military operation was ongoing, no details could be provided as yet, said Rear Adm. John Kirby USN, the Pentagon's press secretary. 

Kirby said the decision to strike was made earlier Monday by the military. He did not name the partner nations participating in the operation; however US officials have said the US would not launch this mission alone and some Arab nations had been expected to participate.

The strikes were part of the expanded military campaign that President Barack Obama's authorized nearly two weeks ago in order to disrupt and destroy IS militants, who have slaughtered thousands of people, beheaded Westerners, including two American journalists, and captured a large swath of territory stretching from within Syria to land across northern and western Iraq.

Some of the airstrikes of were against IS targets in Raqqa. Military officials have said the US would target militants' command and control centers, re-supply facilities, training camps and other key logistical sites.

COMMENT: In a clear lack of transparency and disingenuous conduct,  the Obama Administration has judiciously failed to identify those partnering nations that have joined the US coalition, suggesting that the coalition is less than formidable.

It should be noted that Muslim extremists in the US have already shed the blood of US citizens domestically.

"We will be prepared to strike ISIL targets in Syria that degrade ISIL's capabilities," US Army Gen. Martin Dempsey USA, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told senators last week, using one of the acronyms for IS.

"This won't look like a shock-and-awe campaign, because that's simply not how ISIL is organized, but it will be a persistent and sustainable campaign.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that the plan "includes targeted actions against ISIL safe havens in Syria, including its command and control logistics capabilities and infrastructure." He said he and Dempsey approved the plan.

The US has also been increasing its surveillance flights over Syria, deriving better intelligence on potential targets and militant movements.

Military leaders have said about two-thirds of the estimated 31,000 Islamic State militants were in Syria.In a speech September 10, President Obama vowed to go after IS militants wherever they may be. His military and defense leaders told Congress last week that airstrikes within Syria are meant to disrupt the group's momentum and provide time for the US and allies to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels.

The US military has been launching targeted airstrikes in Iraq since August, focusing specifically on attacks to protect US interests and personnel, assist Iraqi refugees and secure critical infrastructure. Last week, as part of the newly expanded campaign, the US began going after militant targets across Iraq, including enemy fighters, outposts, equipment and weapons.

To date US fighter aircraft, bombers and drones have launched about 190 airstrikes within Iraq.

Urged on by the White House and US defense and military officials, Congress passed legislation late last week authorizing the military to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels. Obama signed the bill into law Friday, providing $500 million for the US to train about 5,000 rebels over the next year.

US leaders have also been crisscrossing the globe trying to build a broad international coalition of nations, including Arab countries, to go after IS and help train and equip the Iraqi security forces and the Syrian rebels.

IS, meanwhile, has threatened retribution. Its spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, said in a 42-minute audio statement released Sunday (September 21) that fighters are ready to battle the US-led military coalition and called for attacks in the US as well as abroad. 

No comments: