Troops Continue to Operate In Iraq with More to Come
Marie Fester (Staff Writer)
The U.S. military successfully destroyed four ISIS positions and one unit in Syria in what had been considered a “safe haven” (Department of Defense). More bases and positions were destroyed in Iraq. The airstrikes are a part of Inherent Resolve, “the operation to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat it poses to Iraq, the region and the wider international community” (DoD). Other nations conducting airstrikes include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Bahrain (DoD).
Meanwhile, the Canadian CF-18s, CP-140 Auroras, and C-150 refueller have completed their first operational fights in Iraq. While no bombs have been dropped, operations are underway. The planes are operating out of Kuwait and will be receiving orders from
the U.S. led coalition. While Canada’s participation has a mandate of six months, it is likely to be extended (CBC).
Kurdish fighters from Turkey arrived in Kobani, Northern Syria to help local Kurdish activists defend the city (CNN). According to CNN, this “is the largest reported crossing of reinforcements to help the Syrian Kurds defending the besieged Kobani”.
Australia’s Charlie Company is waiting for visas from the UAE to go into Iraq. The unit is specialized in counter terrorism, with experience in Afghanistan, and will be conducting an advise and assist mission to help Iraqi fighters against ISIS (Australian Broadcasting Company).
It is estimated that 300 members of the Albu-Nimr tribe that helped defeat AlQaeda in 2006-2007 have been killed in the past few days according to the tribe’s leaders. The tribe had held out for a number of weeks but was running low on ammunition, fuel, and food and therefore fled the area. Some groups were intercepted by Sunni Militants and thus did not escape (Reuters).
The Head of UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), Bulgaria’s Defense Minister and Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, released that “at least 1,273 people killed and 2,010 injured by terrorism and violence in October in Iraq” (RiaNovosti).
In the meantime, foreign jihadists have supposedly been leaving some 80 countries across the world to join ISIS’ fight; a recent UN security council report said that the number is close to 15,000 such foreigners. It is thought to be due to the rise of ISIS, a much less formal, structured organization than Al-Qaeda. The use of social media as a platform for releases “unhindered by organisational structures” is more attractive to international fighters (The Guardian).
The United Kingdom has responded to the rising threat of Islamic Militants by “issuing a general terror warning to all U.K. travelers overseas because of fears that they could be targeted by Islamic State group terrorists seeking revenge for coalition actions in the Middle East” (CBC).
Currently, estimated costs for Australia are around $500 million per year, an unsustainable amount as far as the long term goes. United States expenditure is at around $900 million a month and could rise to more than $20 billion a year (Australian Broadcasting Company).
Australia’s senior soldier, Chief of Army Lieutenant General David Morrison has warned that this fight against ISIS might become a long one. With close to fifteen years in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, it may be hard to see any other future. However, the participation of Arab states in the fight may end up being the key to ending the war on terrorism.