By Ray Starmann
After a year and a half of a failed, worthless, half-hearted air campaign and sporadic, dithering, pinprick Special Forces operations, it’s more than obvious that the Obama administration is in the Land of the Lost in the fight against ISIS.
Finally, the truth has finally seeped out that the US led air campaign against ISIS is doing nothing to the marauding, para-military organization. The Pentagon smoke machine is broken and with the arrival of the Russians in Syria, reality has shattered the wilderness of mirrors.
Our so-called ally, the Iraq government is saying they are considering green-lighting Russian airstrikes against ISIS. The word on the Arab street, the Persian street, the Indonesian street, the Parisian street is that Obama won’t fight.
Meanwhile, ISIS is looting and butchering its way through the Middle East.
But, the White House would have you believe there is a coherent strategy, when instead Obama is little kid at a birthday party, playing pin the tail on ISIS; but instead, stumbling and bumbling his way through the Middle East.
What America needs is a leader, not a community organizer.
These recent actions, which are mere tokens by the White House and the Pentagon clearly demonstrate that in the war against ISIS, they’re in the Land of the Lost:
Coalition forces carried out 56 strikes against Isis in Syria in the eight days to 6 November after going the previous eight days with only three strikes, according to US military figures. The strikes focused on the towns of Mar’a, al Hawl, al Hasakah and Dayr az Zawr.
The US and its allies carried out a dozen airstrikes in Syria on Saturday, the US military said in a statement on Sunday.
The jump in air and rocket strikes in Syria coincided with Washington’s shift in approach to the conflict after efforts to train Syrian rebels to fight Isis collapsed. Russia also deployed warplanes to Syria, adding pressure on Washington to take more effective action.
The air campaign reached a peak in July, when warplanes carried out 887 airstrikes – 518 in Iraq and 369 in Syria, US military data shows. Since then, strikes in Iraq have remained in the range of 500 per month, while in Syria they dropped steadily each month, reaching a low of 117 in October.
So, basically in July, we conducted on average, 28 sorties a day. Whoo…Don’t get carried away.
US military officials downplayed the significance of the strike data, saying they represented the ebb and flow of battle and were affected by things like bad weather, which may prompt changes in targeting on a particular day.
“We are not focused on numbers of strikes. We are focused on effects of our strikes,” Colonel Steve Warren, a US military spokesman in Baghdad, said in an email.
Since July coalition strikes in Syria have been concentrated around al Hasakah, a town near the north-eastern frontier on the route to Sinjar, Tal Afar and Mosul in northwestern Iraq. About 37% of US airstrikes in Syria focused on that town.
More than 11% of US airstrikes have hit the area around Raqqah, the Syria headquarters of Isis, and more than 10% have targeted the militants around Kobani, a city near the Turkish border Isis tried to capture.
US bombing in Iraq has targeted Ramadi, Sinjar and Mosul. Near Ramadi 18% of US strikes hit Isis militants, while 14% hit the group in the Sinjar area and 13% targeted it near Mosul.
Newsflash Pentagon: The air strikes are not only minimal, but INEFFECTIVE. The world knows it. ISIS knows it. Whether, Obama knows it is not known. Does he even care?
Then there was the announcement on October 30th that the Pentagon would deploy 50, count ‘em, 50 Special Operations Forces troopers to Syria. This move is nothing more than just another token show of force, which is really a harbinger of weakness and fear. It endangers the SOF soldiers, by putting them in harm’s way with limited or zero backup.
The only bright spot is the large Kurdish offensive taking place right now as I type. The Kurds are brave, resourceful, competent fighters. But, their area of operations is limited to Northern Iraq.
Today, we find ourselves in the same predicament with U.S. strategy against ISIS—desperately in need of a comprehensive review. Like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in 2008, ISIS is making gains and its threat is growing. Despite thousands of coalition and, more recently, Russian airstrikes against its fighters in Iraq and Syria, the movement has been able to organize its assault forces, advance, and overrun local enemy units on multiple fronts. Furthermore, its control and acquisition of new territory in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Egypt, as well as its influence and appeal in regions outside the Middle East including Europe, Africa and Asia have expanded. Its daring and sophisticated terrorist attacks over the past year in three different continents show how far we still are from putting a dent in the movement’s capabilities (if its involvement in the recent downing of the Russian airplane is confirmed, the attack would be the worst on civil aviation since 9/11).
From this comprehensive review, the White House needs a PLAN and after that some old-fashioned intestinal fortitude. Until that day, Obama, his advisers and Ash Carter will keep trudging through the Land of the Lost.