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Thread: Air Strikes Against ISIS/Khorasan Targets In Syria and Iraq

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    Default Air Strikes Against ISIS/Khorasan Targets In Syria and Iraq

    Thought I'd go ahead and get an official thread started on this even though we have a lot of overlap in a number of other threads.

    U.S. Is Carrying Out Vast Majority of Strikes on ISIS, Military Officials Say

    September 23, 2014

    The vast majority of airstrikes launched against Sunni militant targets in Syria have been carried out by American war planes and ship-based Tomahawk cruise missiles, military officials said Tuesday, in what they described as the successful beginning of a long campaign to degrade and destroy the Islamic State.

    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.

    In another instance, American F-22 fighters targeted an Islamic State command and control building, hitting the right side of the structure, which officials said the Sunni militants were using for communications, storing weapons and holding meetings, while leaving the rest of the building intact.

    General Mayville told reporters that the strikes were the beginning of a “credible and sustainable” campaign to destroy the Islamic State. He and other officials said that the hope is to limit civilian casualties by using precision strikes. American officials are also hoping to counter any attempt by the Islamic State’s formidable propaganda arm to accuse the United States and its allies of killing civilians.

    A Pentagon official said Tuesday that with the exception of the Tomahawk cruise missiles, all of the strikes were launched from aircraft inside Syrian airspace. But officials declined to say whether the American military jammed Syria’s air defense system or whether the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, simply decided to allow the coalition warplanes into the country’s airspace.

    When asked, General Mayville said that Syria’s air defenses were “passive” during the strikes.

    While the airstrikes are the opening wave in what officials say will be a sustained air campaign, military analysts say the weak link in the strategy for combating the Islamic State remains the ability to train and equip Iraqi forces and Syrian rebels. It will take time to build up forces in both countries that will be strong enough to capture and hold territory from the militants.

    In Iraq, American advisers need to train the 26 Iraqi brigades that the Pentagon says are still intact and loyal to the government and help the Iraqis establish new national guard units, which would have the primary responsibility for defending Sunni-dominated provinces and would be recruited largely from Iraqi tribes.

    A senior State Department official said that the new Iraqi government had a plan to establish the national guard units but acknowledged that doing so would not be easy.

    “It is not going to be soon,” said the official, who could not be identified under the agency’s protocol for briefing reporters.

    Meanwhile in Syria, the United States and its allies have another hard task in training the moderate Syrian resistance.

    Hadi al-Bahra, the president of the Syrian opposition, said in an interview on Monday that some sort of no-fly zone would need to be imposed over Syria once the trained troops take to the battlefield so that the fighters would not be attacked by Mr. Assad’s air force. Mr. Bahra said that he met with Defense Department officials in New York to discuss the situation on the ground.

    “Our forces have to be either equipped with an air-defense system like Manpads or a no-fly zone has to be imposed in these areas,” he said, referring to a type of shoulder-fired missile launcher. “We cannot throw our people to fight where they are a target of airstrikes by the regime.”

    Turkey had been reluctant to play a prominent role in the American-led coalition while the militants held 49 Turkish hostages. But now that they have been released, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signaled Tuesday that Turkey would assist the effort in some way.

    “We will give the necessary support to the operation; the support could be military or logistics,” Mr. Erdogan said, according to the Turkish broadcaster NTV. But Mr. Erdogan, who is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, did not provide details.

    Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday at a meeting on countering terrorist threats, “Clearly, Turkey had an initial challenge with respect to its hostages and that being resolved, now Turkey is ready to conduct additional efforts along with the rest of us in order to guarantee success.”

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    Default Re: Air Strikes Against ISIS/Khorasan Targets In Syria


    U.S. Told Iran Of Intent To Strike Islamic State In Syria

    September 23, 2014

    The United States informed Iran in advance of its intention to strike Islamic State militants in Syria and assured Tehran that it would not target the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a senior Iranian official told Reuters.

    The communication, confirmed in part by a senior U.S. State Department official, may signal the estranged foes are inching toward a level of contacts rarely seen in over three decades since the 1979 Islamic revolution when a hostage crisis prompted Washington to sever ties with Tehran.

    Speaking on condition of anonymity, the senior Iranian official said Tehran had voiced concern for Assad, its closest regional ally and the recipient of Iranian military support during a Syrian civil war now in its fourth year.

    "Iran was concerned about Assad's position and his government being weakened in case of any action against IS (Islamic State) in Syria and brought this issue up in meetings with Americans," the senior Iranian official said.

    "This issue was first discussed in Geneva and then was discussed thoroughly in New York where Iran was assured that Assad and his government will not be targeted in case of any military action against Daesh (Islamic State) in Syria."

    The Iranian official said Iran was informed separately in advance of the airstrikes launched by Washington and Arab allies against Islamic State positions in Syria for the first time.

    Asked about the assurance that Syrian government forces would not be targeted, the senior U.S. State Department official told Reuters: "We communicated our intentions, but not specific timing or targets, to the Iranians. As we've said, we won't be coordinating military action with Iran. And of course we won't be sharing intelligence with Iran either."

    NUCLEAR TALKS

    The public communication has included some mixed signals.

    Both Iran and the United States acknowledge having an interest in defeating Islamic State.

    Tehran has called on the world to fight the militants, who stand accused of a wave of violence, beheadings and massacres of civilians while taking over swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq.

    Speaking to senior editors in New York, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stopped short of endorsing or condemning the airstrikes by the United States and Arab allies, though he raised questions about its legality.

    He described this week as an important one for his country's talks with world powers, including the United States, which are meant to forge a long-term accord by Nov. 24 that would end sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

    Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ruled out cooperating with the United States to tackle the hardline Sunni militant group.

    But other Iranian officials have told Reuters that Tehran would be ready to work with Western powers to stop the militants in return for concessions in the nuclear talks on Tehran's uranium enrichment program.

    On Monday the White House said it would refuse to connect nuclear talks, under way on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week, with the fight against the militant group.

    IRAN-U.S. COOPERATION

    Iranian officials told Reuters privately that Iran already was cooperating with Washington in the fight against the jihadist rebels.

    "This is an intelligence matter and I can assure you geopolitical and intelligence matters will not be shared with Americans ... but military and security issues are being shared to fight against IS (Islamic State)," a senior Iran security official said.

    Tehran's leadership has approved the "idea of cooperation with the Americans," he said, because it serves Iran's interests.

    Iran has occasionally shared classified information with Washington, including during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the conflict in Iraq.

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    Default Re: Air Strikes Against ISIS/Khorasan Targets In Syria


    US Uses F-22 Stealth Fighters For The First Time In Real Combat Against ISIS


    September 23, 2014

    ISIS militants in Syria were granted a rare honor courtesy of the U.S. military Monday night as they sat on the receiving end of the first real-combat airstrikes executed by F-22 Raptor stealth fighters.

    The first actual-combat deployment of the fifth-generation, multi-role fighter was likely selected to counter Syria’s advanced air defense system, which would require a high degree of altitude and maneuverability to execute strikes from a safe and precise distance.

    (This is not correct. From news reports I heard earlier, we were given permission from Syria to conduct the strikes in their air space)

    Raptors’ incredible “supermaneuverability” is one of the reasons the plane had yet to be deployed, as the extreme turning radius can take a heavy toll on pilots, many of whom have reported breathing problems while flying according to Business Insider.

    The Raptor features an exhaust thrust vectoring system capable of pitching the plane 24 degrees up or down in mid-air, which gives it a huge tactical advantage in aerial combat, and lets pilots perform aerial maneuvers that would send other conventional combat aircraft spiraling to the ground.

    Citing an Air Force source, The Wall Street Journal reports Raptors can drop 1,000-pound guided bombs 15 miles away from their targets — a far greater distance than the F/A-18s or F16s traditionally deployed for such missions.

    Raptors can carry a range of armaments including GPS-guided bombs, AIM-120s AMRAAM and AIM-9s Sidewinder missiles.

    The F-22s, stationed at a base in the U.A.E., were used Monday night in a coalition strike against extremist fighters carried out by the U.S. and five Middle Eastern allies against an ISIS stronghold in Raqqa and an al Qaeda base in northwestern Syria.

    On Tuesday the U.S. Navy released a video of the U.S.S. Philippine stationed in the Arabian Gulf launching a Tomahawk missile at an ISIS target in Syria as part of the attack.



    Well, isn't that splendid.

    We're putting wear and tear on the worlds most advanced air superiority fighter the we only procured in limited numbers to drop bombs on the goat fuckers.

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    Default Re: Air Strikes Against ISIS/Khorasan Targets In Syria

    Hey, Clinton blew up two tents once.
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    Default Re: Air Strikes Against ISIS/Khorasan Targets In Syria

    This appears to have expanded finally to French and British planes

    French, U.S. planes strike Islamic State; Britain to join coalition

    By Arshad Mohammed and Tom Perry
    NEW YORK/BEIRUT Thu Sep 25, 2014 2:25pm EDT

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    1 of 13. Before and after aerial pictures released by the U.S. Department of Defense September 25, 2014, show damage to the Gbiebe Modular Oil Refinery in Syria following air strikes by U.S. and coalition forces.
    Credit: Reuters/U.S. Department of Defense/Handout via Reuters




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    (Reuters) - French fighter jets struck Islamic State targets in Iraq on Thursday and the United States hit them in Syria, as a U.S.-led coalition to fight the militants gained momentum with an announcement that Britain would join.
    The French strikes were a prompt answer to the beheading of a French tourist in Algeria by militants, who said the killing was punishment for Paris's decision last week to become the first European country to join the U.S.-led bombing campaign.
    In the United States, FBI director James Comey said Washington had identified the masked Islamic State militant believed to have beheaded two American hostages in recent weeks, acts that helped galvanize Washington's bombing campaign.
    Iraq's Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, in New York to attend a U.N. meeting, said on Thursday he had credible intelligence that Islamic State networks in Iraq were plotting to attack U.S. and French metro trains.
    Senior U.S. officials said they had no evidence of the specific threat cited by Abadi, but New York's governor said he and his counterpart in New Jersey were already beefing up transport security in light of possible Islamic State threats.
    France had said earlier on Thursday it would boost security on transport and in public places after the killing of French tourist Herve Gourdel by Islamic State sympathizers in Algeria.
    Britain, the closest U.S. ally in the past decade's wars, finally announced on Thursday that it too would join air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq, after weeks of weighing its options. Prime Minister David Cameron recalled parliament, which is expected to give its approval on Friday.
    While Arab countries have joined the coalition, Washington's traditional Western allies had been slow to answer the call from U.S. President Barack Obama. But since Monday, Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands have said they would send planes.
    The Western allies have so far agreed to join air strikes only in Iraq, where the government has asked for help, and not in Syria, where strikes are being carried out without formal permission from President Bashar al-Assad. However, France said on Thursday it did not rule out extending strikes to Syria, too.
    Overnight, U.S.-led air strikes in eastern Syria killed 14 Islamic State fighters, according to a monitoring group, while on the ground, Kurdish forces were reported to have pushed back an advance by the Islamists towards the border town of Kobani.
    The air raids follow growing alarm in Western and Arab capitals after Islamic State, a Sunni militant group, swept through a swathe of Iraq in June, proclaimed a "caliphate" ruling over all Muslims, slaughtered prisoners and ordered Shi'ites and non-Muslims to convert or die.
    "HARSHNESS, BRUTALITY, TORTURE AND MURDER"
    More than 120 Islamic scholars from around the world, including many of the most senior figures in Sunni Islam, issued an open letter denouncing Islamic State. Challenging the group with theological arguments, they described its interpretation of the faith as "a great wrong and an offense to Islam, to Muslims and to the entire world".
    "You have misinterpreted Islam into a religion of harshness, brutality, torture and murder," said the letter, signed by figures from across the Muslim world from Indonesia to Morocco.
    A third night of air raids by the United States and Arab allies targeted Islamic State-controlled oil refineries in three remote locations in eastern Syria to try to cut off a major source of revenue for the al Qaeda offshoot.
    The strikes also seem to be intended to hamper Islamic State's ability to operate across the Syria-Iraq frontier.
    Obama has vowed to keep up military pressure against the group, which advanced through Kurdish areas of northern Iraq this week despite the air strikes. Some 140,000 refugees have fled to Turkey over the past week, many telling of villages burnt and captives beheaded.
    "The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force, so the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death," Obama said at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday.
    KURDS HALT ISLAMIC STATE ADVANCE
    One danger the U.S.-led campaign has in Syria is the lack of strong allies on the ground. Washington remains hostile to the Assad government. It wants other Syrian opponents of Assad to step into the breach as Islamic State is pushed back, but such "moderate opposition" groups have had limited success.
    One group that has fought hard against Islamic State on the ground in Syria are the Kurds, who control an area in the north but complain that they have been given no support from the West.
    On Thursday, two Kurdish officials said Kurdish forces had pushed back the advance by Islamic State fighters towards the border town of Kobani in overnight clashes. Fighting near the town in recent days had prompted the fastest exodus of refugees of the entire three-year-old Syrian civil war.
    Islamic State, which launched a fresh offensive to try to capture Kobani more than a week ago, concentrated its fighters south of the town for a push late on Wednesday, but Kurdish YPG forces repelled them, the Kurdish officials said.
    "The YPG responded and pushed them back to about 10-15 km (6-9 miles) away," Idris Nassan, deputy minister for foreign affairs in the Kurdish administration in the area, told Reuters by telephone.
    Ocalan Iso, a Kurdish defense official, confirmed that YPG forces had stemmed Islamic State's advances south of Kobani, known as Ayn al-Arab in Arabic.
    "As our fighters secured the area, we found 12 Islamic State bodies," he said by telephone. Islamic State fighters also remain to the east and west of the town and fighting continues in the south.
    Near Damascus, Assad's Syrian army overran rebels in a town on Thursday, strengthening the Syrian leader's grip on territory around the capital.
    Assad's forces, backed by the Lebanese Shi'ite movement Hezbollah, have been gradually extending control over a corridor of territory from Damascus to the Mediterranean coast.
    Many Syrian activists and rebels have criticized the United States for focusing on striking Islamic State and other militant groups while doing little to bring down Assad.
    FRENCH RESOLVE

    The death of French tourist Gourdel, who was beheaded in Algeria 24 hours after an ultimatum was given to France to halt attacks in Iraq, appears to have toughened Paris's resolve.

    France said its jets struck four hangars belonging to Islamic State and containing military equipment near the Iraqi city of Fallujah, a stronghold of Islamic State and other Sunni militants just west of Baghdad.

    So far, European allies have not joined Washington in strikes in Syria, but French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said "the question is on the table".
    The U.S. military said that it, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, used fighter jets and drones to attack 12 Islamic State-controlled oil refineries in eastern Syria, which generate up to $2 million a day for the militants.
    Initial indications were that the raids on the refineries were successful, the U.S. military said. Another raid destroyed an Islamic State vehicle.
    The strikes killed 14 fighters and at least five civilians, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the Syrian conflict.
    Washington and its Arab allies killed scores of Islamic State fighters in the opening 24 hours of air strikes, the first direct U.S. foray into Syria two weeks after Obama pledged to hit the group on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border.
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    Default Re: Air Strikes Against ISIS/Khorasan Targets In Syria

    D.C. Whispers: “Mr. President, You Have No Choice. You’re Exposed Here.”

    Posted on September 25, 2014 by a12iggymom

    A second and equally interesting, D.C. Whispers report in the same week. If you have not yet read the initial update, please do so as it will greatly benefit your understanding of the follow-up post here. It appears President Obama was given an ultimatum by the Pentagon with a strong assist from a high ranking member of the Senate – an ultimatum that proved influential enough that it convinced Senior White House Adviser Valerie Jarrett herself.



    RELATED STORY: D.C. Whispers: Barack Obama’s Outraged Tantrum During Military Briefing

    Regarding the earlier update that had the president yelling his defense of Islam to Pentagon staffers. This meeting was linked to an earlier meeting from the prior week between State Dept. and Defense. White House was apparently unwilling to sign off on ISIS bombings in Syria w/o Congressional go ahead to allow subsequent bombing of Assad installments. State was opposed to this due to fears of Russian repercussions, political blowback, and additional hints from Iran they would not support such an agreement.



    Something happened between that first meeting, and the one referenced in the earlier update that took place at the White House. Word from some on the Hill is a high ranking member of the Senate with an established history of personal animosity toward the president, threatened to “expose them all after November” if the White House continued dragging its feet on the ISIL situation. This threat reached the White House inner circle, which is likely exactly what the Senator intended it to do. A week later we had the White House briefing between the president and Pentagon staff taking place.



    At some point during this meeting the president was told outright by Pentagon officials, “Mr. President, you have no choice. You’re exposed here. Besides, this is going to make great television.” That may very well have been the real source of the president’s anger during that meeting. He walked out, then it was reported the president, Jarrett, and a personal aide walked back in, and he agreed to the more limited air strikes and training of rebel forces in Syria, with Jarrett clearly twisting his arm to do so.
    Now here is where things get even more interesting. It is now believed by some that ISIS was tipped off as to the exact timing of the bombing campaign. It is not known by anyone I have contact with, if that came from anyone associated within the administration, another Arab state involved, etc. There is more though. Ansar al-Sharia, the al Qaeda-affiliate group that took the brunt of the initial Syria bombings, has direct ties to the 2012 Benghazi U.S. consulate attack. (the Khorasan Group is simply another affiliate of Ansar al-Sharia, though the administration used the name of that group as political cover)
    Read More: http://ulstermanbooks.com/d-c-whispers-mr-president-choice-youre-exposed/
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    Default Re: Air Strikes Against ISIS/Khorasan Targets In Syria

    It's official.

    ‘ UK Members Vote 524 – 43 to Support US-Led Coalition ‘





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    #AceBreakingNews – BRITAIN September 26 The UK Parliament has backed British participation in air strikes against Islamic State extremists in Iraq.
    David Cameron it will take years …… ?

    After a seven-hour debate, MPs voted for military action by 524 votes to 43.
    The Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour leaderships all backed air strikes although some MPs expressed concerns about where it would lead and the prospect of future engagement in Syria.
    The BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson said RAF planes could be called into action as early as Sunday.
    Speaking after the vote, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said a long campaign lay ahead and there would not be a “series of immediate hits”.
    ‘Brutal organisation’
    He told the BBC the priority would be to stop the “slaughter of civilians” in Iraq and the UK and its allies would continue to be guided by Iraqi and Kurdish intelligence in identifying targets.
    Some 23 Labour MPs voted against air strikes, as did six Conservatives, one Liberal Democrat, two Plaid Cymru MPs and five Scottish National Party MPs.
    They were joined in the no lobby by Green MP Caroline Lucas, three Social Democratic and Labour Party MPs and Respect MP George Galloway. Two MPs acted as no tellers during the vote, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and the SNP’s Pete Wishart.
    Source:
    #ANS2014




    Iraq strikes: Pure symbolism or precursor to Syria?

    RAF Tornado in flight

    Six RAF Tornado strike aircraft will once again be in action over the skies of Iraq very soon – in theory as early as this evening but I understand that Saturday night is more likely.
    The question today’s Commons vote leaves unanswered is whether these attacks will mark the start of the third Iraq war in the past quarter of a century or what Ken Clarke today called a largely symbolic contribution to the coalition which is already attacking the forces of the so-called “Islamic State”.
    The RAF’s promised contribution is modest by historical standards – three times as many planes flew over Libya – and other Western countries – the French, Dutch, Belgians, Danish and Australians – have committed as many or more fighters.
    However, what will worry opponents of military action and those who are sceptical about it is the prime minister’s clear desire to extend action to Syria. He has promised MPs another vote before that happens unless there is a need to move swiftly to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.
    The Labour leadership have signalled their concerns about extending air strikes to Syria but have not expressed outright opposition.
    One well-placed government source told me that what he called “the next step” would be possible if people saw the success of action in Iraq or if IS carried out further murderous attacks on hostages, or targets in Europe.
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    Default Re: Air Strikes Against ISIS/Khorasan Targets In Syria

    http://gopthedailydose.com/2016/07/1...s-syria-video/

    France just bombed the shit out of them
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