As the United States marks the 13th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, President Obama on Wednesday announced an offensive strategy against the Islamic State militants who has captured major parts of Iraq and Syria and advancing at an alarming rate.
In a 13 minute long speech on the eve of the anniversary of the 2001 attacks, the US President said that the airstrike campaign would be expanded further against the militants who have proclaimed a caliphate in the parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria. The Islamic State is now seen as a major threat to the US as well as other neighbouring nations. But Obama asserted that the troops would not be engaged in the combat akin to the bloodstained war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but would "support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment." US have been in the process of garnering international support for its campaign to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the IS. The deadline for completing the mission is however, not given. US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to continue his tour of the Middle East and Europe to garner support for the fight against the militant group.
Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt have offered support to the mission. However, Turkey, Britain and United Kingdom backed out inflicting a heavy blow to Obama’s strategy for tackling the Islamic State. Turkey, a NATO ally and host to two U.S. Air Force bases, even refused to allow the US led coalition to use its airbases. Earlier, Turkey had made a similar refusal during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Turkey may be reluctant to take a stronger role in the battle against the IS due to the fear of inviting danger to the 40 Turkish diplomats who were abducted from the Turkish consulate in Mosul and held captive by the group.
The militant group headed by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, a self proclaimed caliph and a prisoner released from Guantanamo in 2009, has grown out of the most dangerous international organisation, Al Qaeda and follows its hard-line ideology. The group is believed to have a rich fund of billions of dollars for their support and reportedly uses US weapons, a fact that is dubious as well as one that raises alarm and also has member strength of thousands. Their rapid advancement murdering thousands has caused a fear of threat across the globe. Even though thousands of envoys from 83 countries met in Istanbul on August 20 to discuss the potential dangers from the terrorist group, nothing beneficial and practical has come out. The Muslim world has strongly denounced the group as well as their brutal attacks. Syrian President, Bashar Assad has warned the UN Security Council that deliveries of aid across its borders into insurgent-held areas without its consent were an “attack”. That the strikes of the US led coalition are targeted on their foes is sure to give respite to Assad.
Obama had initially turned down Iraq Prseident, Nouri al Maliki’s request for help from the insurgents. But the apparent turn of things coupled with the fact the president didn’t even bother to consult with the UN, indicates that Obama too is following the same track as George Bush, the former US president. The most hated President in the world, as the Google puts it, Bush’s administration came close to destroying the most powerful country on the face of earth. Obama seem to pursue the path of waging bloody wars in Iraq and Syria similar to Iraq and Afghanistan, with the strikes expected to continue perpetually.