Obama Declares War On Islamic State, Will It Work?

Obama Declares War On Islamic State, Will It Work?
White House (Pete Souza) [Public domain]

President Obama has been labeled by some as a weak President. He pulled troops out of Iraq, wavered on Syria, allowed the embassy to be attacked in Libya, and has failed to stand his ground against Putin. Whether or not the President was correct in taking his course of actions is debatable. Regardless, Obama is now upping the ante in the fast-emerging battle against the Islamic State, or ISIS as it is commonly called.

Obama’s strategy in the Middle East

Mr. Obama’s previous policy in the Middle East has focused on winding down activities in the region. Now, the President has been forced to reverse course, and it appears this time he’s more willing to commit the resources necessary to tackle the ISIS threat head on. For example, Obama previously shot down calls to arm more moderate Syrian rebels, but is now preparing for a Congressional push to do so.

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Outside of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and other countries are stepping up their efforts to fight ISIS. Canada has been sending military advisors, British Special Forces are believed to already be in Iraq, and Germany has been arming the Kurds.

Military Actions Being Expanded

The United States will step up its air strikes against ISIS. There is some hope that expanded air strikes, in combination with the Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi government troops, may be able to push ISIS back.

More military advisors are also being shipped to Iraq, and the total boots on the ground will soon total at least 1,700 people. These military advisors likely won’t participate in front line action, but will instead work from behind the scenes to advise military assets within Iraq.

President Obama has stated that combat troops won’t be on the ground. Other sources have reported, however, that special forces operations have beene launched in Iraq. These missions are highly classified and will not involve regular combat troops, but instead specialized units.

The Obama administration has already sought and received protections for special operations forces operating within Iraq. It’s believed that US special forces have already been in Iraq, for example assisting with the Sinjar Mountain evacuation.

USA Will Pursue ISIS In Syria

The United States will not limit itself to operations within Iraq and will also pursue ISIS forces into Syria when necessary. The complication of international borders has been especially pressing in this case, as the so-called Islamic State is spread across the national borders of Syria and Iraq.

As mentioned, the Obama administration might push for arming more moderate rebels. With many said rebels deflecting to ISIS, however, and ISIS forces having already proven to be more than willing to attack other rebel groups, attempts to arm rebels might be met with resistance.

ISIS Won’t Be Easy To Beat

ISIS has consolidated its hold over its territory. The organization is even providing governance in some cities, having set up local legal systems, and providing basic civil services. Meanwhile, the organizations series of stunning victories has resulted in more foreign troops and more defections from people in Syria and Iraq.

What may have started out as a seemingly “minor” problem has quickly evolved into the largest and most well-organized terrorist group in history. ISIS is believed to have billions of dollars in funds, and its adaptable administration structure will allow it to adapt to quickly changing situations.

The speech Obama gave last night, probably should have been given months ago.

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