American Elephants

The Middle East Has Declared War on ISIS, and Obama Won’t Help. by The Elephant's Child


The United Arab Emirates is sending a squadron of F-16 fighter jets to Jordan to strike against ISIS alongside the Jordanian air force. They had suspended flights as part of the US Coalition conducting air strikes in view of concerns about search and rescue capabilities after the Jordanian pilot was downed.

Major Mariam al-Mansouri, a female pilot with the UAE air force, played the starring role in a publicity stunt last month when she was photographed in the cockpit of the F-16 fighter she had flown in the first wave of US-led attacks on targets of the Islamic State in Syria (Isis).

Thumbs up and beaming for the camera, it was a striking image that combined empowered Muslim women, the Arab fightback against jihadi extremism – and the pride of the small but wealthy Gulf state that is flaunting a new-found assertiveness and promoting its political agenda in a region in profound turmoil.

A House Armed Services Committee member revealed that the Obama administration had turned down a request from Jordan for Predator spy drones that would help locate targets against ISIS. The request was for the Predator’s unarmed export version. Rep. Duncan Hunter sent a letter asking the president to approve the transfer. “The decision to deny the license request should be reversed immediately” Mr. Hunter wrote. “Doing so will provide Jordan critical mission capability in the fight against the Islamic State and ensure Jordan is given every advantage.” The U.S has turned down aid and weapons for Ukraine in its battles against Russian-backed separatists. which Ukraine has been requesting for months.

The video of the immolation of the Jordanian pilot has not gone over well in the Middle East. Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, met with Jordan’s King Abdallah, and  has vowed to help Jordan get the armaments it needs. Of course the Jordanians and the UAE are Sunni, and Iran is Shia, and Obama doesn’t want to offend Iran.

If Jordan and the UAE succeed in really damaging ISIS with their strikes on Raqqa, expect President Obama to take credit. After all, he just took credit, only a few days after banning oil drilling in Bristol Bay in Alaska, and pushing to ban oil drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Reserve, for the drop in the price of gas. He has decided that cheap gas prices were another of his great successes.

ADDENDUM: Foreign Policy is reporting that Jordan did not request Predator unarmed spy drones,  but rather that the manufacturer was denied an export license to Jordan. Armed Services congressmen have questioned the decision. Jordan has requested other equipment which has not been forthcoming. The Kurds are not being well supplied either. Obama talks big about his “coalition” but is a little short on the follow-through.

9 Comments so far
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Jordan never requested the drones. The story is being misreported. A US manufacturer of drones requested PERMISSION to MARKET the drones to the Jordanian military, and the manufacturer’s request was denied.

Comment by Seraphina

I’ll post a ‘correction’ but it doesn’t really make much difference, does it? King Abdullah has asked for precision munitions, aircraft parts and night vision equipment which has not been forthcoming. The Kurds have requested assistance which has not been forthcoming either. Obama talks big about his “coalition” but doesn’t seem to follow through, or recognize any urgency in a wartime situation. It’s all very peculiar.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Apparently Jordan has requested other precision munitions, night vision equipment, and aircraft parts which have not been forthcoming either. The Kurds have requested armaments which they aren’t receiving. Obama seems to talk big about his “coalition,” but doesn’t follow through, or doesn’t grasp the urgency.I’ll post a correction, but it doesn’t seem to make much difference, does it?

Comment by The Elephant's Child

That’s incorrect. A deal was signed for that equipment last week. That’s why King Abdullah was in DC when the news broke of the Jordanian pilot’s assassination.

Comment by Seraphina

And the coalition? They’re acting… Australia is bombing, so is Britian. Canada is active as well. Why do you think ISIS struck in Australia and is vowing to strike in the other coalition countries? As far as Obama following thru, where’s Congress?

Comment by Seraphina

From the specific article to which you directed me: ‘During his visit with the Senate Armed Services Committee, Abdullah expressed frustration that it was taking so long to get needed U.S.weapons.”Where’s Congress? The article goes on about letters from Armed Services to the State Department and the President. That’s how that works.

I don’t believe that “ISIS struck in Australia.” It sounded, from what I read, that it was a lone ISIS sympathizer, rather than someone directed by ISIS to attack. I have seen no information about Britain, Canada and the Aussies bombing, and I do try to keep up. Saw a complaint that the U.S. was doing only a few sorties a day. It is repeated that Defense is still trying to dump the warthogs, though they are said to be the most effective weapons. It’s very hard to get confirmed information.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

it is my understanding that everything King Abdullah has asked for is in the process of being sent. We’ve completed 1,700 sortees and dropped approx 5,000 bombs on ISIS targets, killing an estimated 6,000 ISIS members. I’ll get you links for information on Australia’s numbers and Canada’s contribution. Please note the dates of the links… some are a few months old but gives you a baseline for estimating and corroborates more recent information.

Comment by Seraphina

Everything King Abdullah has asked Obama for has been AGREED to, but the majority of it is not in the process of being sent at this point. There are State Department clearances that have to be approved (this is what happened in the case of the Pradator; State put a hold on the deal), and some of these items cannot be cleared without a formal agreement. Part of the reason Abdullah came here was to try and get a personal guarantee from Obama for support (Obama has something of a reputation in that region for reneging on such deals… wonder how that happened?), a lot of which he was able to secure, but some was left hanging. I don’t think Abdullah is holding his breath waiting for Obama to act.

And those numbers you quote in that link can be a little misleading if you don’t understand how those operations are run. For each bomb run, there are recon flights and logistical support flights to get weapons where they are needed, and these flights are included in the total for flights sorteed. And the 6000 ISIS casualty number is the ISIS members estimated killed from all sources, and comes from a source that is known to guess on the high side.

If Obama would let the U.S. military off the leash, ISIS would cease to be a problem by lunchtime tomorrow. I understand that he has other considerations (such as getting it done without destabilizing the region any more than it already is), but I’m not holding out a lot of hope for Obama to let loose. In fact, considering his history, it’s more likely he’ll do the opposite. There’s a hell of a mess to clean up over there, and it’s only going to get worse.

Comment by Lon Mead

I’m inclined to think that Obama is so determined to be the anti-Bush president that it colors everything he thinks and does. (Obviously this is just me, and I have no particular insight)Republicans are inclined to think Democrats are wrong or mistaken. Democrats think Republicans are evil, wrong, and stand in the way of the path to a better world. Obama has stated that he was elected to get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Michael Doran’s article in Mosaic, Obama thinks a nuclear Iran is a workable situation, as does Paul Pillar in an article in Washington Monthly. And Max Boot writes about Obama’s agonizing over any action. I would surely like to know what part restraint on the rules of engagement has played in this whole thing.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

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