Islamic State Hit By New U.S. Strikes But Remains Strong

Paul Hair

Islamic State terrorists were hit by new air strikes, according to U.S. officials, but the attacks seem to have done little to affect the overall strength of the terrorist group.

Reuters reported, "The United States and partner nations have conducted 20 air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq since Wednesday, the U.S. Central Command said on Friday."

The same Reuters report said that the coalition conducted "[f]ive of six air strikes" in Syria near or in Kobani, while it conducted 14 air strikes in Iraq that were "mostly targeting areas in the oil-producing north of the country controlled by Islamic State."

(19 Nov Coalition air strike on ISIL Building near Kirkuk, Iraq. Courtesy of USCENTCOM.)

And while the effect of these particular strikes remains to be seen, similar air strikes have had little effect on the Islamic State in the past. Indeed, the overall action of U.S. and coalition forces may have slowed Islamic State advances, but some argue they have done little other than that.

Bloomberg News reported on the trouble Iraqi forces are having in the western province of Anbar, even as U.S. troops advise and assist them.

"While U.S. officials say airstrikes have halted the extremist group's momentum, Iraq's Shiite leadership is struggling to rebuild the military and galvanize an alliance with Sunni tribes capable of taking back territory."

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad also condemned the effectiveness of the air strikes, according to a separate Reuters report.

"It isn't true that the strikes are helpful. They would of course have helped had they been serious and efficient. We are running the ground battles against Daesh (Arab acronym for Islamic State), and we have noticed no change, especially with Turkey providing direct support to these regions."

The full effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of the U.S.-led air strikes against the Islamic State remains debatable, and will continue to be so for at least the near future. This is partly because the full extent of what is happening in Iraq and Syria remains unclear.

The Inquisitr previously posted on Iran conducting air strikes in Iraq even as U.S. officials deny the U.S. is working with the Iranians. U.S. officials also offer little information on the full extent of Iranian activity in Iraq even as Iranian activity appears to be heavy. The Long War Journal has reported on Iranian ground forces extensively operating in Iraq.

Furthermore, the Daily Beast reported on U.S. special operations forces conducting operations in Iraq even as U.S. officials insist U.S. ground forces are operating in advisory roles only and not directly fighting against the Islamic State.

The War Is Boring blog also reported that U.S. ground forces might be doing more than officially acknowledged when it found information released by the U.S. government.

"However, U.S. Central Command—which oversees military operations in the Middle East—recently offered us a peek at the special operators' activities. On Nov. 14, CENTCOM posted a video in its YouTube channel showing the commandos' airplanes and helicopters flying near Baghdad."

The U.S. later removed this video about U.S. operations in the fight against the Islamic State from its website.

[Image via Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System}