Um...about that 'coalition' bombing ISIS in Syria...
President Obama addressed the UN today about a host of issues, including our bombing campaign of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
He bragged about the coalition he put together to fight ISIS - Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, UAE, and Bahrain. Except, when it came to the actual bombing operation, the overwhelming majority of strikes were carried out by the US.
In disclosing the identities of the five Sunni Arab nations that joined or supported the attacks in Syria — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan and Qatar — the Obama administration sought to paint a picture of an international coalition resolute in its determination to take on the Sunni militant group.
Jordan said that “a number of Royal Jordanian Air Force fighters destroyed” several targets but did not specify where; the Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the air force “launched its first strikes against ISIL targets” on Monday evening, using another acronym for the Islamic State. American officials said that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also took active part in the strikes, and that Qatar played a “supporting” role.
But Lt. Gen. William C. Mayville Jr., the director of operations with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the majority of strikes were carried out by American warplanes and cruise missiles, with the aim of hindering the ability of the Islamic State to cross the border into Iraq and attack Iraqi forces.
“What we have been doing over these last couple of weeks and what last night’s campaign was about was simply buying them some space so that they can get on the offensive,” General Mayville said.
Military officials said that the airstrikes began at midnight Monday local time with the launching of some 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the guided missile destroyer Arleigh Burke at positions held in Aleppo by a Qaeda-linked network known as Khorasan and at Islamic State targets around the group’s headquarters in Raqqa.
That first stage of the attack was conducted solely by the United States. The second stage began soon afterward, with American warplanes joined by fighters and bombers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan, targeting Islamic State compounds, barracks and vehicles in northern Syria.
A third wave, which also included the Arab nations, targeted Islamic State positions in eastern Syria, Pentagon officials said. A senior military official said that during the three waves of Syria strikes, the United States and its Arab allies dropped almost as many bombs in one night as the United States had used during all of its operations in Iraq against the Islamic State.
At a briefing for reporters, military officials showed photographs and video of before and after shots of the targets hit in Syria. In one case, the military bombed what officials said was an Islamic State finance center in Raqqa, targeting and destroying electronic and communications equipment on the roof, while leaving the rest of the building intact.
To be fair, none of the air forces from those countries are built to carry out the kinds of missions in which the US is routinely engaged. Although they are using mostly US equipment and planes, we don't sell them our best ordinance. Those Tomahawks are ridiculously accurate and it's safe to say none of those Arab air forces have anything half as capable as an F-22.
I'm sure the Arabs are doing the best with what they have. I just wish Obama would stop blowing up their contributions as if we couldn't get along without them.