U.S. airstrikes have broken up the formations of extremist militants in northern Iraq but failed to stop the overall advances of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the Pentagon's operations chief said Monday.
In reaction to the airstrikes, the ISIL fighters were "now starting to dissipate and hide among the people" to escape the U.S. warplanes, said Army Lt. Gen. William, C. Mayville.
"Targeting is going to get more difficult," Mayville said at a Pentagon news conference.
The general called the ISIL fighters "very well organized, very well equipped and thus far they have shown an ability to attack on multiple axes."
Kurdish forces reported have retaken several towns from ISIL but one of the problems faced by the peshmerga Kurdish fighters was the longer-range weapons employed by ISIL, Mayville said. The U.S. was looking at the possibility of supplying the Kurds with long-range weapons to match those of ISIL, Mayville said.
ISIL HAS CAPTURED MANY U.S.-SUPPLIED ARMS AND VEHICLES FROM FLEEING IRAQI ARMY...U.S. DRONES ALSO CAPTURED.
U.S. warplanes on combat patrols over northern Iraq increasingly are hitting U.S.-made armored vehicles captured by Islamic militants from the fleeing Iraqi army.
In the latest airstrikes Thursday, the U.S. Central Command said that a mix of fighters and armed drones destroyed one of the heavily-armored Mine Resistant-Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles that were a mainstay of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The MRAP was targeted after the warplanes destroyed two other armored vehicles northeast of the Kurdish capital of Irbil that were being used by fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to fire on positions held by the Kurdish peshmerga forces, the Central Command said in a statement.
DESPITE AMERICA'S SLOW RESPONSE TO KURDISH REQUESTS FOR BETTER ARMS AND DEFENSIVE EQUIPMENT, REFUSAL TO AIRLIFT FLEEING REFUGEES, OTHER NATIONS HAVE AGREED TO HELP.
In Brussels Friday, foreign and defense ministers of the European Union gave a positive response to the Kurdish requests.
The 28 nations of the EU bloc agreed on a plan to allow direct arms shipments to the Kurds while boosting humanitarian aid for members of the Yazidi sect and other refugees who have fled the ISIL advance.
"First of all we need to make sure that we alleviate humanitarian suffering," Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said, the Associated Press reported.
"Secondly, I believe we need to make sure that (ISIL) is not in a position to overrun the Kurds or to take a stronger hold on Iraq," Timmermans said.
French President Francois Hollande has already pledged to ship weapons to the Kurds, and Britian has pledged to deliver ammunition.
"Weapons are already being delivered by other countries," German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told the Bild newspaper Friday. "We are at present examining what kind of further military equipment we can send," she said.
U.S. AIRSTRIKES NEAR MOSUL DAM MAY THREATEN DAM'S INTEGRITY
August 15, 2014
(CNN) -- U.S. warplanes carried out airstrikes in northern Iraq near ISIS-controlled Mosul Dam early Saturday morning, the Kurdish news agency Rudaw reported, citing eyewitnesses.
CNN confirmed that a U.S. and Iraqi military operation aimed at retaking the country's largest hydroelectric dam from the so-called Islamic State was scheduled to begin early Saturday morning (Friday at 6 p.m. ET).
The operation was to begin with U.S. and Iraqi airstrikes against ISIS positions, with Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces following up on the ground.
U.S. fighter jets began carrying out the strikes early Saturday morning local time, Rudaw reported.The dam sits on Iraq's Tigris River about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of the city of Mosul.
Should the dam fail or ISIS fighters open its floodgates, massive flooding could result.
STRIKES NOT AIMED AT DRIVING ISIS/ISIL OUT OF IRAQ!
President Obama did not say that airstrikes would be used to eject ISIS forces from Mosul or Kirkuk or Fallujah.
In densely populated cities like these, air power has real limitations. An enemy in defensive positions, particularly in urban terrain, is very difficult to engage with air power. Even if the target can be hit, the possibility for collateral damage that causes civilian casualties is very real. And if the target is missed, the collateral damage can be exponentially higher, even catastrophic.
AMERICA ONCE AGAIN COUNTING ON KURDS TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE...
A senior administration official has stressed to reporters that U.S. forces are NOT launching a “sustained campaign” against ISIS in Iraq.
Since ISIS began its rampage through Iraq in early June, both the U.S. and Iraqi governments have tacitly bet on the Kurds’ ability to repel ISIS advances in the north. But betting on the Peshmerga to hold the line now looks like a riskier proposition after ISIS broke through Kurdish defenses and set in motion the current crisis.
In truth, it was never that safe of a bet. Since early June, representatives of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government have warned the United States that the Kurdish Peshmerga were not positioned to protect the Yazidi and Christian minorities in the Kurdish region.
“We have significant interests and assets in the region,” one senior Kurdish official told The Daily Beast in June, describing the message to the U.S government. “But also more worryingly, we have a Yazidi and Christian populations that are gravely under threat right now.”
The consensus among ex-CIA analysts, former military officers, and Iraq veterans who spoke with The Daily Beast is that the Peshmerga’s abilities were overrated. No one questions the Kurds’ willingness to fight, but their military prowess appears to have degraded in the years since the U.S. military stopped training them and withdrew from Iraq.
A former Special Forces officer in Iraq who maintains extensive contacts among the Kurdish forces points out another factor affecting their performance. “The Kurds’ biggest weakness is the size of the border they have to protect from ISIS and the imperative they are under to yield nothing,” he said. “ISIS can give up territory, but the Kurds cannot.”
Air strikes against ISIS targets can weaken the group, buy time, and prevent it from massing on Kurdish forces, but according to military and CIA veterans, air power alone will not be decisive.
Moving U.S. special operations forces onto the battlefield, even as advisors, “greatly raises the profile of American involvement and will eventually lead to highly visible American casualties,” according to the Special Forces veteran.
President Obama made his political career, in part, on his opposition to the Iraq war. Those casualties are something he is desperately trying to avoid. But the situation on the ground in Iraq may leave him no choice.
Obama’s Iraq airstrikes could actually help the Islamic State, not weaken it
For most Iraqis, the U.S. is still known for sanctioning, invading and occupying Iraq. Across the region, returning to direct U.S. military involvement in Iraq, against the Islamic State or not [MAY BE MISCONSTRUED].
[THIS ARTICLE GOES ON TO ARGUE THAT AMERICAN PRESENCE AND FURTHER BOMBING INSIDE IRAQ WILL GIVE ISIS/ISIL GOOD PROPAGANDA TO RECRUIT MORE MEMBERS FROM DISGRUNTLED IRAQIS WHO HATE AMERICA'S DESTRUCTION OF IRAQ.]
President Obama himself called Iraq a “dumb war.” As he’s said, there is no U.S. military solution in Iraq. So why is he authorizing U.S. actions that set us up to fail?
ISIS LEADER, CALIPH OF ISLAMIC STATE, HAS FLED TO SYRIA
15 Aug, 2014
In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) spokesman Saeed Mamo Zinni said: “Caliph of the Islamic State Abu-Bakr Al-Baghdadi left Mosul for Syria a few days ago.”
“According to our intelligence sources, Abu-Bakr Al-Baghdadi traveled to Syria as part of a convoy of 30 Hummer vehicles after fearing being targeted by US airstrikes,” Zinni said. He added that Kurdish Peshmerga forces have been able to kill a number of ISIS senior leaders.
DESPITE THE AIRSTRIKES, ISIS YESTERDAY MASSACRED 80 MORE IN AN IRAQI VILLAGE
Aug 16th 2014The insurgents allegedly stormed into the small village of Kojo in northern Iraq, where they spent five days trying to persuade villagers to take up their religion.
When they refused, the male members of the ancient Yazidi sect were reportedly rounded up and shot dead, while more than 100 women and girls were kidnapped.
The women and girls abducted from the village, situated around 12 miles south of Sinjar, were being taken to the ISIS-controlled cities of Mosul and Tal Afar, the official said. British jihadist Nasser Muthana also posted this claim on his Twitter account, saying that he and other Islamic State fighters had captured hundreds of Yazidi and were holding them hostage in Syria.
The Islamic State continued its push to the border with the Kurdish region.
NO, AIRSTRIKES WILL NEVER STOP ISIS, AND THE ISLAMIC STATE WILL MARCH ON.