Our muted response to ISIS

Our muted response to ISIS August 14, 2014

If you are worried that the U.S. is reigniting the war in Iraq, don’t be.  Despite the atrocities being committed by ISIS/The Islamic State, our airstrikes are designed simply to protect Americans in threatened cities and to protect those Yazidis besieged on that mountain (that siege is reportedly over, as the Yazidis have now escaped).  But, according to two Washington Post analysts, there is no effort to stop ISIS as such or to win back the large amount of territory they have taken over.

From Greg Jaffe & Greg Miller, Obama administration shows little urgency for stemming Islamic State violence – The Washington Post:

Senior U.S. officials describe the threat posed by the Islamic State in chilling terms, but have mounted a decidedly modest military campaign to check its advance through northern Iraq.

The radical Islamist organization has attracted more fighters, controls more territory and has access to a larger stream of money than al-Qaeda did before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to U.S. officials and terrorism experts. Its refusal to rein in its brand of rampant violence accounts in part for its break from the better-known terrorist group.

“This is serious business,” Secretary of State John F. Kerry told reporters earlier this week. “I think the world is beginning to come to grips with the degree to which this is unacceptable.”

So far, though, the Obama administration’s response to the group’s blitzkrieg through northern Iraq has been defined primarily by the limits it has placed on the U.S. military’s intervention.

The disconnect between the unnerving assessments of the Islamic State and the apparent lack of urgency in confronting it reflects a mix of political and military constraints. Among them are no clear military strategy for reversing the group’s recent territorial gains, a war weariness that pervades the Obama administration and the country, and significant uncertainty about the extent to which the Islamic State is prepared to morph from a regional force into a transnational terrorist threat that could target Europe and the United States.

The U.S. military’s campaign against the Islamic State has focused on protecting U.S. citizens in Baghdad and Irbil and delivering aid to thousands of Yazidi refugees who had been trapped on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq and appeared Wednesday to be making their way down to safety to.

The ongoing U.S. airstrikes are equally notable for what they have not tried to do. U.S. military officials have emphasized that the strikes are not designed to reverse the gains Sunni extremist fighters have made.

 


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