The U.S. Bombed Not One, But Two Terrorist Groups Last Night In Syria | thinkprogress

Around 9 PM eastern standard time, Americans suddenly learned that their government had delivered on its previous threat, launching airstrikes into Syria. But as they awoke on the following Tuesday, it became clear that rather than just targeting the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), there was also a second target on the list. Details about the simultaneous campaigns are still slowly being revealed, but here’s the answer to a few of the questions that you might have regarding the strikes.

What exactly did we hit?

Though the impetus for taking action against ISIS was the fall of several cities in Iraq, the White House has been laying the ground work for expanding the campaign beyond Iraq for weeks now. The civil war in Syria has all but rendered the border between it and Iraq all but useless, allowing ISIS members to cross back and forth freely. Most of ISIS’ assets, including its headquarters in Raqqa and several oil fields, were located in Syria as well. Because of that, when addressing to the nation earlier this month, President Obama pledged to not only strike out at ISIS in Iraq, where planes have been bombing targets since June, but also in Syria as well. [Read more]

This Is Obama’s U.N. Plan to Choke Off ISIS’s Recruits | The Daily Beast

A U.S. diplomat once spoke with bitterness of the breadth of his power when negotiating with an uncooperative dictator. “We will go after you with the full force of the law,” he said.

The diplomat then demonstrated with his hands what that looks like: a fluttering piece of paper, on which such laws are written, while saying,  “Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.”

No threat of firepower, no action, he said. [Read more]

Obama, confounded, chides tribal Middle East in speech to UN General Assembly | Jerusalem Post

The international system on which the United States relies is failing to “keep pace” with an interconnected world, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday, in a somber speech on the state of global affairs.

The speech was an acknowledgment by the president of the challenges to his own doctrine of multilateralism: “we cannot rely on a rule book written for a different century,” he said.

In a speech delivered at West Point in May, billed by the White House as an outline of his organizing principles as commander-in-chief, Obama said that international institutions were built on a rule-book written by the United States. [Read more]

The coalition show, from Afghanistan to “Syraq” | OpEdNews

US Secretary of State Kerry brokered a deal in Afghanistan, installing a “coalition” government, but couldn’t come up with a credible coalition to bomb IS in Syria. So the Pentagon will do it alone to the applause of its Gulf “petrodollar allies.”

This is a short tale of two coalitions.

Let’s start with Afghanistan. The charade in Kabul goes by the name of “power-sharing agreement.”

You got an election problem? Call John Kerry. That’s right; this “agreement” was brokered by none other than the US Secretary of State, who shoved the embarrassing issue of a tainted democratic election under an Afghan carpet. [Read more]

In Syria, government hopes and people’s despair | Middle East Eye

“In the fight against terrorism, Washington and its coalition are in the same trench as the Syrian army,” boasted the banner headline in the pro-government newspaper, Al-Watan, this morning.

It was a dramatic sign of the Syrian government’s hopes that there may be soon be a common front between itself and the West against the Islamic State and other militant groups fighting here.

There were plenty of other similar signals in the way Syrian officials and the state-controlled media covered the US air strikes on the morning after. Accusations that the US acted in violation of international law or committed aggression against Syria were conspicuously absent, even though in advance of the attacks Walid Muallem, the Foreign Minister, had used those very arguments to warn against any US attack. [Read more]

Hoping Bombs Will Solve Iraq/Syria Mess | Consortium News

As the United States embarks on a new air war in Syria, disturbing anomalies abound. Some of them were reflected in the front-page headlines of a couple of major U.S. newspapers Tuesday morning, which probably also reflected slightly different deadlines of the two papers but were substantively telling nonetheless.

The Washington Post’s headline was “U.S. Launches Strikes in Syria.” In the corresponding place in the New York Times, in an edition evidently put to bed before the new offensive in Syria could be reported, we read, “Weeks of U.S. Strikes Fail to Dislodge ISIS in Iraq.” [Read more]

Air strikes on Syria: A long and uncertain shot | Al Jazeera

In the past few weeks, air strikes by US forces have been targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq, also known by its Arabic acronym “Daesh”. But on September 23, the US, together with its leading Arab allies, announced that they had started bombing other militant armed groups in Syria as well.

This is a clear indication that the Syrian conflict has entered a new phase, a moment pregnant with risks and opportunities. The deepening US involvement in Syria will likely outlast President Barack Obama’s second presidential term. There is no turning back.

The new US engagement, together with its key Arab partners, among them Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Jordan, represents a marked departure from the Obama administration’s previous reluctance to get entangled in Syria’s killing fields in the first place. Obama may have fired the first shot, but his successor will have to see the campaign through, as this strategy will not yield results for at least a few years – if ever. Without doubt, the air strikes will devolve into something much bigger over time. [Read more]

Israel says Iran tested nuclear weapons in military complex | Al Arabiya

Israel said on Wednesday that Iran has used its Parchin military base as the site for secret tests of technology that could be used only for detonating a nuclear weapon.

Israel has been a severe critic of six big powers’ negotiations with Iran on curbing its nuclear energy program, suspecting Tehran is only trying to buy time to master sensitive nuclear know-how and would evade the terms of any final deal.

The Islamic Republic says allegations that it is seeking a nuclear weapons capability are false and baseless. Tehran says it is Israel’s assumed atomic arsenal that is a destabilizing threat to the Middle East. [Read more]

Will Turkey Fight ISIS? | New York Times

On Saturday, Turkey woke up to happy news: The 49 Turks held hostage in Iraq by the Islamic State for 101 days had finally been released. When they arrived in Ankara with a delegation headed by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the survivors were welcomed by family members who had feared that they would never see them again.

The hostages were captured by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, on June 10, when the terrorist group occupied the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and raided the Turkish Consulate, the last remaining diplomatic mission there. [Read more]

Syrian refugees in Turkey criticise US air strikes against Isis | The Guardian

From the rooftop of his little kebab restaurant, Ahmet Usta points to the skyline of Tel Abyad. For almost a year its narrow sand-coloured buildings have been part of the self-styled caliphate of Islamic State (Isis). The large black Isis flag can be spotted from his roof.

Residents of the Turkish border town of Akçakale have been living door-to-door with the Syrian civil war for more than three years. Before its neighbours were Isis, there were the rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who demand the removal of Bashar al-Assad.

“At least they are quiet,” he says. “The FSA used to shoot in the air all the time. These guys don’t make a racket all the time. These are small mercies. But we are worried about the bombing by the Americans. When has that ever done any good?” [Read more]

End of myth of Turkey-KRG alliance | Today’s Zaman

Relations between the Kurdistan region and Turkey have been improving over the past eight years. Undoubtedly, the developments were embraced warmly by many people in both areas, yet many were critical about the relations between the two. The Turkey-Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) alliance has been overestimated in the region. While many KRG officials and pro-KRG journalists and scholars — even foreigners — were promoting a “real marriage of Turkey and the KRG” and a “strategic alliance of Turkey and the KRG,” the Turkish officials never supported that. Surprisingly, the Turkish officials always refrained from using any kind of term that showed they considered the KRG a sovereign regional government. To be more precise, by Turkish officials I mean the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and “Erdoğanist” officials.

Turkey has over 1,000 companies operating in the area that the KRG controls, with almost 40,000 workers — more than any other country, including Iran, which has had good relations with the KRG since 1992. The $15 billion in Turkish investment and trade has given Turkey huge advantages without the KRG getting anything in return. The KRG has become dependent on Turkey’s products, even though Turkey is dependent on the KRG market. Both sides are trying to increase the amount of investment. This is a far more lucrative business for Turkish gross domestic product (GDP) than that which Turkey has with Germany, the UK or France. [Read more]

A Month of Bombs Dropped in Two Days of Syria Strikes | Business Week

The U.S. dropped almost as many bombs and missiles on Islamic State positions in Syria over the past two days as were used in the first month of attacks on the extremist group in Iraq.

The offensive two nights ago, joined by five Arab nations, used about 200 munitions, most precision-guided, as well as some of 47 Tomahawk cruise missiles that were launched from two warships, according to U.S. Central Command. At least three more strikes hit Islamic State targets in Syria yesterday and early today, according to the Defense Department.

Later today, U.S. and allied forces hit Islamic State oil facilities in eastern Syria in an effort to reduce the group’s revenue, according to a U.S. defense official who discussed the attacks on condition of anonymity. [Read more]

 

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