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August 08, 2014

US Attacks ISIS Forces In Iraq

One bomb against one artillery piece but still, the fight against ISIS is on (for now).

The F-18 combat aircraft targeted artillery being used by militants of the Islamic State extremist group against Kurdish forces defending Irbil, the Kurdish regional capital, the Pentagon said. It said the artillery was fired at Kurdish forces “near U.S. personnel.”

The planes dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs at about 6:45 a.m. EDT, said Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.

Obama authorized the strikes following the launch of a powerful offensive by Islamic State militants in northern Iraq. He also sent U.S. military aircraft to drop food and water to besieged Iraqi civilians in the region.

The U.S. airstrikes hit Islamic State positions in Makhmour, about 35 miles southwest of Irbil, said Mahmood Haji, an official at the Kurdish Interior Ministry. “This is a victory for all the Iraqi people, for the pesh merga, and for America,” he said. “We need these airstrikes to destroy their bases and vehicles so the pesh merga can move forward.” The pesh merga is the Kurdish security force.

Where Obama is going with this isn't clear yet. Will we just attack ISIS positions when they conduct offensive operations against areas with Americans or refugees? Or will we eventually wind up serving as the air force for the Kurds and/or what's left of the Iraqi Army?

Either way, that's not going to be quick.

Acting as the air force for the heavily Shia Iraqi Army is a problem because it will create problems for any future political reconciliation (if such a thing is even remotely possible) and ultimately help the Iranians.

On the other hand, resupplying the Kurdish Peshmerga seems like an urgent requirement to prevent attacks further into Kurdish territory and a requirement to begin pushing ISIS back. Naturally this being the Mideast that creates some problems, namely freaking out Turkey and the Baghdad government.

Just as I am writing this, CNN is saying any supplies to the Kurds will likely go through the government in Baghdad. So in other words, they won't get any. It's time to face reality, the Kurds have and deserve and independent state. Turkey and Baghdad are just going to have to accept that.


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posted by DrewM. at 10:22 AM

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