US, Arab Allies Strike ISIS Targets in Iraq and Syria
The United States military, along with allied states in the Arab world (such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates), have jointly carried out airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. According to the reports, the strikes went after not only IS forces, but also “a simultaneous U.S. strike attacked an al-Qaida cell of hardened veterans with “significant explosives skills” said to be plotting attacks on the U.S. and Western interests, the U.S. military said.” Also according the report, “American warplanes also carried out eight airstrikes to disrupt what the military described as “imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests” by the shadowy Khorosan Group, a network of al-Qaida veterans working with the Yemeni branch of al-Qaida, known as Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, to get foreign fighters with Western passports and explosives to target U.S. aviation.”
In terms of the attacks, according tot he Yahoo News report, “[the airstrikes against Islamic State targets were carried out in the city of Raqqa and other areas in eastern Syria. The strikes were part of the expanded military campaign that Obama authorized nearly two weeks ago in order to disrupt and destroy the Islamic State militants, who have slaughtered thousands of people, beheaded Westerners — including two American journalists — and captured large swaths of Syria and northern and western Iraq.” And while the United States carried out the actual strikes, according to reports, US officials such as Army General Martin Dempsey said that want these Arab allied states to continue helping by cutting off finances to the organization, as well as countering recruiting efforts by the organization (Yahoo, 2014).
The US and their allies have went after such groups due to their attacks on civilians in the region. The United States wanted to ensure that this was viewed as a global effort, and not an isolated US campaign in the Middle East. This is an important point, since US government activities in the past (namely the Iraq War) have caused public opinion to turn on the United States in the region. The United States also took a similar position with regards to the no fly zone in Libya, reaching out to various Arab states, aiming to build an multilateral coalition.
But along with public opinion, other states are also watching US actions in the region, and thus, this may have been another reason for the continued push for the inclusion of allies in the region. For example, some states, such as Russia, have been critical of US actions in the region, and in the Yahoo report, “Russia’s foreign ministry warned Tuesday that what it called “unilateral” air strikes would destabilize the region. “The fight against terrorists in the Middle East and northern Africa requires coordinated efforts of the entire global community under the auspices of the U.N.,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.” Again, we have to keep in mind here Russia’s continued challenges to the United States regarding different issues in the past 15 years, as well as keeping in mind their current actions regarding the rebels in the Ukraine.
It is important to see what effects these strikes have on ISIS, as well as what other states will continue to do to ensure that groups such as ISIS do not continue to recruit more individuals.