US military chiefs overrate damage to ISIS
The US military chiefs fighting ISIS, have recently claimed that the US has re-organized its military resources and is determined to cut down the Islamic state after the lame efforts in the last two years.
These words of encouragement have come from Gen.Joseph Votel commander of US Middle East forces and the first US general to be assigned to Syria in its nearly six years of war, and Lt. Gen Charles Brown commanding the US Al Udied Air Base in Qatar where 750 aircraft operating in the Gulf and Middle East are based.
When US airstrikes against the Jihadist organization began the offensive in late 2014, it was marred by inadequate intelligence and (specifically that of intelligence analysis), and sporadic aerial action.
debkafiles repeatedly reported that American and coalition air strikes against the Jihadists were too few, misfired and many of the bombers returned to base with much of their ordnance unused.
It appears that the Obama administration has finally decided to tackle ISIS in earnest.
Our military and anti-terror experts claim it is too soon to determine whether the US commitment is real.
It is true that there are signs of limited US military movement in Syria, Libya and Iraq indicating a possible change.
For example: Increasing the number of US special forces in these three countries, far beyond the framework that President Obama is talking about publicly, when he says ‘small forces’.
There are about 7,500 US soldiers deployed in Iraq and Syria, with an additional 2,000-3,000 fighters working for private security contractors. In Libya there are an additional 1,000 to 1,250 soldiers. American planes take off from Incirlilk base in South Turkey 350km by air from Raqqa, ISIS Syrian capital, and 700km from Mosul, ISIS Iraqi capital, and do not need to fly more than 1,450km (about 770 miles) when they approach from the Persian Gulf.
ISIS still shows no sign of cracking or dismantling its Islamic Caliphate, and its military and terrorist capabilities.
There are several reasons for this:
- ISIS is expanding fast. While the Obama administration treats Iraq and Syria as the main fronts against the jihadi organization, ISIS has opened three more fronts: in Egypt, Sinai Peninsula, and Libya. While the US had quietly added 4 to 5 detachments of US special forces, these forces are too small to be a military challenge to the terror organization, and all they can do is fight ISIS with the help of local forces, as the US are doing in Iraq and Syria.
- In addition to Mosul and Raqqa, the ISIS has established capitals at the Lybian port of Sirte on the Mediterranean Sea and in Jabal Halal mountain range in central Sinai with a cluster of ISIS bases. They provide a fallback option for the terrorist organization in the still distant prospect of Raqqa and Mosul falling to US and local forces.
- When General Brown reported that the US Air Force is now hitting ISIS held oil fields, funds and headquarters, and that its revenue has fallen "only" to $56 million per day, he omitted to mention the ISIS Lybian oil fields and their revenue. In fact, debkafile's military sources note that ISIS is making up for revenue shortfalls in Syria and Iraq by pumping oil in Libya and the surrounding desert.
- While US military sources claim that 45 percent of the territory the Islamic State seized in Iraq in 2014, and 20 percent in Syria, has been reclaimed, ISIS still hangs on to its key strategic assets.
- Furthermore ISIS this week launched an offensive in the northern and eastern Syrian regions of Aleppo, Azaz, and Deir-a-Zor`; and inflicted damaging assaults on May 14 and May 23 on Russian bases and Syrian Syrian government centers near Jableh and Tartous in Western Syria. It is obvious its external terrorist capacity has not been cut down as was expected.
- US and Middle East intelligence agencies hold information showing that ISIS is going to expand its bomb attacks in major cities in Europe and the Middle East, in the coming weeks. This follows an estimate of the organization’s leaders that the attacks on the Russian and Egyptian passenger aircrafts, and the terror attacks in Paris, Brussels and Tunisia, to be very successful.