No matter how much Washington and its allies may wish otherwise, the air war against ISIL will fail, with tragic and disastrous consequences.
Contemporary history says that war has never been won by air power alone. Airpower alone cannot lead to military victory in this long war either. Airpower alone – no matter how punishing – simply doesn’t cut it without “true military partners” on the ground. Washington’s new coalition members are true partners and allies, but without “a true ground force”, and ISIL and al-Qaeda forces are not “on the run” either. Still, Obama and his friends seem loath to accept that grim reality – to the detriment of regional safety and security.
There are other complications as well. In effect, there is no interest in Western Europe in sending ground forces to fight ISIL. The only ground army is France’s, tied up in Central and Northern Africa, where Western-backed terrorists armed from Libya’s abandoned stocks are active – declaring “caliphates” of their own.
Britain has joined Australia and Canada in sending Special Forces, in reinforcement of the American trainers, special troops and ground observers for the carrier attacks. But Special Forces are just that – soldiers performing special tasks. They are not combat brigades, which are essential if the current balance of forces is to be changed – Washington knows that. It’s the reason why we are now hearing some voices from Washington saying “troops on the ground are inevitable if we want to win this war.”
Just for the record, in the US-led war on Libya for regime change, the effort to “save” civilian lives, took aim at a host of targets that served merely to embolden the militias with easily available weapons, destroying any semblance of stability.
The next pit stop on the race of absurdity in waging limited “humanitarian war” has taken place with the illegal bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq against ISIL AND Syria’s infrastructure. By the admission of the Pentagon, “gaps” have emerged in intelligence. This stands to reason.
Pentagon officials are suggesting that the intelligence is less thorough in Syria and Iraq than it has been in Pakistan and Yemen during the “illegal” drone campaigns. It has already been noted that empty buildings, refineries and oil fields in Syria long vacated by ISIL fighters have been struck. It is even being admitted now by US officials that earlier Tomahawk cruise missile strikes on al-Qaeda groups and ISIL have done little to kill key members or disrupt supplies.
It should be made clear that “staying out” is not synonymous with “doing nothing.” Western countries must defend themselves, naturally, and try to prevent their misguided youth from joining the ranks of terrorist outfits. They also need to provide what humanitarian assistance they can, especially to refugees in Iraq and Syria.
But they know well that they cannot win this war without a helping hand from those who are genuinely fighting ISIL and al-Qaeda goons, i.e., Syria, Iraq, Hezbollah, Kurdish forces, Shia volunteer forces and of course Iran. For victory, the US and its allies would also need to get the consent of the Syrian government and the United Nations – and abandon their fantasy of regime change in Damascus, if they were serious about defeating ISIL and were not using it as a convenient tool to serve their regional interests.
Now the US, the West, Israel and their regional allies have all started a new crisis in the region, and America’s illegal wars and incompetent military interventions deeply contributed to this new crisis. Now the crisis is at fever pitch because of the illegal airstrikes, in which blind is leading the blind!
In summary, it is pretty well clear that air strikes on ISIL are doomed to failure; but did the US and its allies not see this readily foreseeable ending. Are the Pentagon strategists so simple-minded that they have failed to see the outcome of such a lame attack on ISIL? Can anyone believe that it has been another folly of the US Congress to have allowed the administration to wage another useless war? When the US had both the air power and hundreds of thousands of boots on the ground, its army failed to achieve its stated objectives in both Afghanistan and Iraq, then how could anyone believe that the US is in another war – however confined – as a result of another miscalculation?
Then, there remains only one question: when even kids and mentally retarded people can see the fruitlessness of the coalition airstrikes on ISIL, then why has the US originally adopted this strategy?