We need action in the Middle East and we need it now.
A small band of ISIS guerrillas attacked an air base in Iraq where U.S. forces train Iraqi troops. It is believed this was just a probe of American commitment to the region. The eight ISIS fighters were killed by Iraqi forces as they approached the Ain al-Asad air base where 400 U.S. military personnel train Iraqi Army soldiers.
It is obvious they could not have successfully breached the base, but the base is a major strong point between ISIS forces and Baghdad. A military expert said, “They were signaling that our advisers were vulnerable, thus … they hope … Obama [will] pull them out.”
ISIS was just sending a message that Iraq is as vulnerable to attack as Syria and that this was just a warning of what was to come. ISIS forces have been moving forces from strongholds in Syria to Anbar Province, Iraq, possibly to prepare for a major strike on the base and Bagdad. They have done so without real interdiction from U.S. air power.
The U.S. hesitated to intervene in the civil war in Syria and now Syria is a cauldron of incessant violence. We did nothing while Iran thumbed its nose at the world and proceeded with a nuclear arms program.
Now, Kayla Mueller, the American aid worker, an innocent volunteer, had her blood added to the stained palms of the killers known as ISIS. We failed to move to help her or other American hostages even though the U.S. received intelligence as to a possible location of all American captives held by ISIS.
British intelligence identified two or three locations in and around the city of ar-Raqqah, in the north of Syria, where it was said the hostages had been taken. In addition, by early June, sources in London said they had a “positive identification” and that the “information was shared with Washington.”
White House national security advisers were not willing to base a raid on intelligence developed through a foreign service. Meanwhile, we spend billions on intelligence annually but we cannot confirm reports from allies in order to take action. At least she was not burned alive in a cage like the Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh.
The leaders of the free world have to be on the same page and showing unity in the face of our enemies. President Obama needs to lead that coalition or the self-styled Caliph Abubakar al-Baghdadi and ISIS will be emboldened to take further action by the belief that America will do nothing.
President Obama characterized ISIS fighters as “these terrorists” and stated that the U.S. would not allow them to have a “safe haven.” They should not have a moment of respite from the righteous wrath of the free world.
Syrian President Assad is fighting to retain control of Syria while Hezbollah fighters, backed by Iran, fight to create a Shiite regime and ISIS fights to create a Sunni Caliphate in the Middle East. The Assad coalition is supported by Vladimir Putin when he is not supplying arms to Ukrainian rebels but he supports some of the action taken by ISIS too because their sadistic savagery makes Assad, his puppet, look good and helps turn Western opinion against the anti-Assad coalition.
ISIS has other secret admirers. Turkey is no supporter of Assad and also sees ISIS as a necessary evil to prevent the emergence of a Kurdish state in Iraq and Turkey. There are other Arab countries that appreciate an ISIS bulwark against an Iranian Shiite hegemony in the region. Qatar and the UAE quietly dropped out of the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition.
Iraq is the most vulnerable state with the most to lose if ISIS spreads further. Senior Iraqi officials stated the U.S. has not supported attacks against the ISIS heartland. When Jordan launched air strikes against ISIS, the White House allegedly insisted that it avoid the heart of ISIS territory. Iraqi officials claim that while they supplied the U.S. with more than 100 credible military targets in ar-Raqqah but we failed to strike any of them or any of the ISIS oil fields that provide a steady stream of income to the terrorists.
There comes a time when leaders must do what they were elected to do. There is a crisis in the Middle East and Mr. President you must adopt a plan and get working on a resolution.