Obama's grand anti-ISIS coalition has fallen apart

When President Obama began the bombing campaign against the Islamic State, he crowed that he had assembled an "unprecedented" coalition of 65 countries, including the active participation of the air forces of the Arab Gulf States.

Now, officials involved in the air campaign against ISIS say that barely a dozen countries are contributing anything at all to the fight, and the Arab Gulf States haven't carried out a bombing mission in months.

Washington Times:

And behind closed doors, administration and military officials admit that air support from such key Arab allies as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — something the White House once touted as an unprecedented and essential part of the coalition — has all but evaporated.

One Pentagon official directly involved in the counter-Islamic State fight told The Washington Times that the Saudis haven’t flown a mission against the group in nearly three months. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Bahrain is still involved, but confirmed that Jordan stopped flying sorties against the extremists in August and the UAE hasn’t flown one since March.

A top former Obama administration official who helped build the coalition last year, meanwhile, said that Persian Gulf Arab powers made a strategic gamble months ago to focus their military resources on helping Saudi Arabia wage war against Houthi rebels seen as Iranian proxies in neighboring Yemen — wagering that the U.S. and the European Union would lead the fight against Islamic State.

During the months leading up to last summer’s nuclear deal between Tehran and the West, Yemen had emerged as ground zero for a proxy war pitting Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s top Sunni Muslim power, and Iran, the region’s largest Shiite power.

The months since have seen waves of Arab air and ground offensives carried out against the Iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen, with a particularly deadly day occurring in early September, when 45 UAE solders and five troops from Bahrain were killed in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia – indeed, the world – will fight the Islamic State to the last dead American.  The world may scream bloody murder when American troops are deployed to fight tyrants, but most nations are secretly relieved.  They get the benefit of not having to fight a potential threat while also being able to trash the U.S., which answers a need in their domestic politics. 

In truth, only America with her vast resources would be capable of taking down the Islamic State – if we were of a mind to.  Russia's military is strained by deploying a few squadrons of bombers and fighters to Syria, along with a few combat troops.  They do not have the ability to project massive, overwhelming force overseas. 

This does not bode well.  If the Gulf States, who are threatened existentially by ISIS, won't defend themselves from the threat, why should we be forced to do the job?  This should serve as a wake-up call for the Arabs; the U.S. will not fight your battles for you anymore.

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