This week, a message was sent to the Islamic State (I.S.) that the world is rallying against them. A U.S. led coalition conducted a series of airstrikes against the terrorist group that has seized large parcels of land in Iraq and Syria.
There were two major differences in this latest attack against the I.S. One was that this series of attacks happened in Syria. The second was that multiple Arab nations took part in the airstrikes, solidifying that it isn’t just the U.S. opposing the Islamic State.
The airstrikes began in the early hours of September 23, 2014. Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joined the U.S. in sending units to carry out attacks on I.S. forces, with Qatar joining them in a non-combatant support role.
This multinational coalition is important for a number of reasons. During the earlier campaigns in the region, it seemed as though it was the Western powers against the Middle East, as U.S. and British forces took on the bulk of the workload. This gave the impression that other world leaders within the Middle East were against, or at least not on board with, the conflicts. Now, with other Arab nations joining in against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, it sends a resounding message that the threat the I.S. poses is real. So is the need to destroy them, regardless of cultural, religious, language and ideological barriers.
President Obama met with the leaders from the five Arab nations that make up the coalition. Each one made it clear that they understood that the mission to destroy the I.S. could be a long and difficult one. But every member confirmed that they would see the mission through to completion.
The airstrikes happened in three waves, all targeting combatants, vehicles, and training camps. The first wave focused on the Khorasan Group, a separate terrorist organization that is just as dangerous, if not more dangerous to Americans, because of its stated mission to carry out operations in the U.S. The wave hit several Khorasan Group targets in Eastern and Northern Syria.
The second wave hit I.S. targets, including its headquarters. The third wave concentrated on I.S. positions in Eastern and Northern Syria.
Let us send best wishes and support to our American pilots who are carrying out the airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. While we don’t have personnel on the ground, we certainly have Americans in harm’s way. Let us keep them and their families in our hearts and minds.
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Military Connection: Airstrikes in Syria: By Debbie Gregory