Marrakech - The so-called Islamic States in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) reportedly shot down a Syrian government fighter aircraft on Tuesday, according to Reuters. It marked the first time the group has downed an aircraft. The attack occurred near Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold in northern Syria.
Marrakech – The so-called Islamic States in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) reportedly shot down a Syrian government fighter aircraft on Tuesday, according to Reuters. It marked the first time the group has downed an aircraft. The attack occurred near Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold in northern Syria.
Last week, US President Barack Obama authorized air strikes against ISIS forces in Syria, widening the area of US involvement. Although he does not need Congressional approval to take such an action, there are those in Congress who would like to set up conditions for US airstrikes, in what is a very complicated political situation.
Yesterday, the President awarded the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest honor, to two US servicemen (one posthumously) who served in the Vietnam War, recognizing their heroism fifty years ago. The timing of the ceremony was significant: it occurred as Americans prepared to go to war again. The President was recognizing the same soldiers that were vilified by protestors when they came home, despite fighting bravely for their country.
The US involvement in the Vietnam War occurred from 1955 to 1975, and left 58,209 Americans dead and 153,303 wounded. It was America’s most traumatic conflict in history, and the psychological scars still exist. The failure to establish clear and limited objectives at the beginning of the war caused what is now called “mission creep” and defeat.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have thus far left 6,667 Americans dead and 50,897 wounded. Now, the President is taking on ISIS in Iraq, Syria, and anywhere else it manifests itself, which could easily be Lebanon, Jordan, or elsewhere in the future. Armed forces alone cannot defeat the virus of modern Islamist terrorism.
The President has the full support of Congress, NATO, and its other allies in the West and the Arab world. The President has now decided to go to war after he spent the large part of his Presidency avoiding it. American and NATO forces are still engaged in Afghanistan. The delay in action in the early stages of the Syrian civil war cost thousands of lives, created millions of refugees, and allowed ISIS to build up its forces. However, many are relieved that the President has finally decided to take action against this pervasive evil.
There is also apprehension due to complex ethnic and religious tensions, which have been high in the region since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Shia/Sunni divide has torn Iraq apart. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States have sided with the Sunnis, but want to eradicate ISIS, which is a danger to everyone in the world. Iran and the Shia back the Syrian regime. America, having initiated talks with Iran on nuclear reduction, much to Saudi Arabia’s disapproval, now says that Iran will not be part of the coalition against ISIS, although Iranian forces are engaged in Iraq and Syria.
The risks are vast, and this is without factoring in Israel’s powerful army. Experts agree that the use of air power alone will not be enough to defeat ISIS. The next question is where ground forces will be found, since the West and the US have said they will not commit their own ground troops.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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