U.S. Air Strikes on ISIS – Doomed To Fail?

Nearly 2 out of 3 Americans approve US airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, according to a poll released on October 2 by Associated Press – GFK.) Questions persist, however, about the effectiveness of this approach to degrade and destroy ISIS. Military Hawks in Washington argue for the deployment of ground troops, but only about a third of Americans support this strategy according to the AP-GFK poll.

ISIS Advances To Kobani

ISIS Advances To Kobani

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN on October 5 that a strategy of aerial bombardment would not destroy ISIS.  A ground component is needed to destroy ISIS in Syria, according to Graham. Senator Graham added on the CNN show that training inexperienced fighters of the Free Syrian Army in Saudi Arabia is “militarily unsound” and “will lead to their slaughter.”

UK former Chief of Defence Staff General Sir David Richards also thinks that air power alone will not win a campaign like this because it is not a counter-terrorist operation. “This is a conventional enemy in that it has armour, tanks, artillery, and wealth”, he told The Guardian on Sunday. He concluded that you must therefore view it and fight it as a conventional campaign.

Kurds living in Syria say air strikes against ISIS targets in Northern Syria have not stopped the militants from advancing to the city of Kobani. Idris Nassan, the Kurdish “foreign affairs minister” for the Kobani region in Syria, says fighter jets cannot hit every fighter. According to Nassan, each time a jet approaches, fighters leave their open places, scatter, and hide. In an interview with The Guardian, Nassan stressed the need for ground support.  Nevertheless, in a Pentagon listing of ISIS targets, no attacks in or around Kobani were included.

However, despite another beheading of a Westener by ISIS militants, there is reason to believe the U.S. led coalition airstrikes on oil wells, buildings used to manufacture bombs, and other targets are having some effect on the Islamic militants. These airstrikes appear to be confining ISIS terrorist activity to Syria and Iraq and preventing – or at least retarding – its exportation abroad, to the U.S. In particular, the U.S. led air strikes against ISIS in Syria have apparently prevented ISIS from disseminating its message through the media. No major propaganda or speech threatening the West has been posted online since September 21. Airstrikes began September 22. (According to ABC News, the latest “beheading video” of British hostage Alan Henning was part of a multi-part program that was completed although not aired prior to the airstrikes.)

Local beheadings and local suicide bombings continue. So do plans and activities designed to get explosives on airplanes bound for the US. The terrorists are now creating weapons out of doll clothes, toothpaste and teddy bears – by soaking them in an inflammatory liquid.

Even as ISIS and its supporters try to export terrorism to the U.S., the U.S. remains vigilant. Passengers seeking to board U.S.-bound planes must start their electronic devices so as to determine if the batteries are real and not disguised to look so when viewed through airport security. Military personnel, government civilians and their family members have been advised by Army Intelligence to be on guard because, according to Fox News, ISIS militants have called on supporters to search social media for addresses of military personnel, find their families, and murder them.

[View video of ISIS advance on Kobani, Syria:]

Article by Y. A. Young

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