Author Topic: American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq  (Read 465 times)

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American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq
« on: August 07, 2014, 05:13:38 PM »
DOHUK, Iraq — American military forces bombed at least two targets in northern Iraq on Thursday night to rout Islamist insurgents who have trapped tens of thousands of religious minorities in Kurdish areas, Kurdish officials said.

Word of the bombings, reported on Kurdish television from the city of Erbil, came as President Obama was preparing to make a statement in Washington.

Kurdish officials said the bombings targeted fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria who had seized two towns, Gwer and Mahmour. Residents who had fled those areas by car were heard honking their horns in approval.

Obama administration officials had said earlier in the day that Mr. Obama was considering airstrikes or airdrops of food and medicine to address a humanitarian crisis among as many as 40,000 members of religious minorities in Iraq, who have been dying of heat and thirst on a mountaintop where they took shelter after death threats from ISIS.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/08/world/middleeast/american-forces-said-to-bomb-isis-targets-in-iraq.html
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Re: American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2014, 05:18:59 PM »
Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 29s

.@nytimes: U.S. said to bomb targets in Iraq: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/08/world/middleeast/american-forces-said-to-bomb-isis-targets-in-iraq.html … The Pentagon calls this "completely false" https://twitter.com/PentagonPresSec/status/497488631599464448
Rear Adm. John Kirby @PentagonPresSec
Press reports that US has conducted airstrikes in Iraq completely false. No such action taken.

In other words, it were a black op that they got caught at.
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Re: American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2014, 05:19:36 PM »
Our efforts will likely be for show. They will not alter the longer term success of the terrorists to control the region.
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Re: American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2014, 05:24:57 PM »
I think ISIS, or whatever they are calling themselves now, are in for a rather nasty wake up call.

I love the Kurdish people. A little stand offish, they are, but they'll give you their last sip of water or the shirt off their back without question. And they fight like demons straight from hell. All of them - men, women and children.
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Re: American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2014, 05:49:45 PM »
http://www.businessinsider.com/us-bombing-isis-iraq-pentagon-denies-nyt-2014-8

Pentagon Denies Report US Is Bombing ISIS Targets In Iraq

    Brett LoGiurato

    29 minutes ago

The Pentagon moved swiftly to shoot down a New York Times report Thursday afternoon that American military forces had bombed at least two places in northern Iraq targeting fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). 

"Press reports that US has conducted airstrikes in Iraq completely false. No such action taken," Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, wrote on Twitter.

President Barack Obama is preparing to make a statement Thursday evening, the Times reported. The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Times reported, citing Kurdish officials, that U.S. military forces struck at least two targets with the intention of routing ISIS fighters who have created what officials have called an urgent humanitarian situation in northern Iraq. ISIS has trapped tens of thousands of religious minorities on Mount Sinjar who belong to the Yazidi religious sect.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that U.S. airstrikes appeared underway. Anwar Haj Othman, deputy head of the Peshmerga ministry, a defense ministry for the Kurdish forces, told the Journal that U.S. jet fighters struck targets in both the Mount Sinjar plains and in a Kurdish area known as Gwair close to the Erbil province. The Journal reported U.S. officials justified any potential strikes with the need to protect dozens of American diplomats and military personnel in the Erbil area.

The situation on Mount Sinjar, meanwhile, has given the trapped Yazidis a near-impossible dilemma — leave and risk being killed by the militants, or stay and hope aid comes their way. UNICEF said that as of Tuesday, about 40 children had already died on the mountain from dehydration and heat exhaustion.

A senior Defense Department official told Business Insider earlier Thursday that the U.S. was considering emergency-relief airdrops of food and medicine to aid the religious minorities. Other reports indicated Obama was considering airstrikes targeting ISIS fighters at the base of the mountain.

"We have been working urgently and directly with officials in Baghdad and Erbil to coordinate Iraqi airdrops to people in need," the Defense Department official told Business Insider. "The Government of Iraq has initiated air drops in the region, and we are in constant communication with them on how we can help coordinate additional relief, enhance their efforts, and provide direct assistance wherever possible."

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday that the White House "strongly condemns" the situation on Mount Sinjar, which he said was "nearing a humanitarian catastrophe." But he repeatedly declined to comment on any specific options Obama was considering.

"I'm not in a position to shed light about the president's thinking at this point," Earnest said.

Earnest reiterated, as Obama has many times throughout the unfolding crisis in Iraq, that any U.S. military action would be limited in scope and would not include any American "boots on the ground." He also blamed the unfolding situation on a political failure by the Iraqi government to bring different sects together in government.

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Re: American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2014, 05:56:43 PM »
I dunno....that's a long damned flight from the Persian Gulf where our carriers operate, and they would need tanker support in and out.  Hard to believe that kind of operation could take place without the direct cooperation of the al Malaki Government.  Long range bombers (Buff, B-1, B-2) could reach it but they are not tactical bombers.

Let's wait and see where this one goes.....


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Re: American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2014, 06:06:31 PM »
I dunno....that's a long damned flight from the Persian Gulf where our carriers operate, and they would need tanker support in and out.  Hard to believe that kind of operation could take place without the direct cooperation of the al Malaki Government.  Long range bombers (Buff, B-1, B-2) could reach it but they are not tactical bombers.

Let's wait and see where this one goes.....

From Incirlik Air Base, maybe? Last I heard there was a decent USAF presence there.

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Re: American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2014, 06:09:49 PM »
http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=3A046690-8E17-46A2-B234-0550091B6A28

 Iraq begins food drops
By: Philip Ewing
August 7, 2014 01:55 PM EDT

Iraqi authorities are air-dropping relief supplies to try to stave off a humanitarian catastrophe in northern Iraq, the Pentagon said Thursday, but officials would not confirm reports about potentially imminent air strikes.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest condemned the “cold and calculating manner” in which the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has targeted religious and ethnic minorities in the territory it has seized. “It is a situation we are deeply concerned about and closely monitoring,” he said.

But other than confirming President Barack Obama met with national security advisers this morning, Earnest and other White House officials would not comment on a report in The New York Times that Obama could decide soon about potential air strikes or additional humanitarian assistance for the crisis in the north.

“I’m not in a position to rule things on the table or off the table in this context,” Earnest said.


A defense official told POLITICO that Iraq’s government had begun dropping relief supplies to some 40,000 Iraqi Yazidis trapped on a mountaintop without access to food or water and cut off by ISIL fighters. The U.S. is in “constant communication” with Baghdad and Erbil, the official said, “on how we can help coordinate additional relief, enhance their efforts and provide direct assistance wherever possible.”

The Times reported Thursday evening that air strikes had begun in Iraq, but Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby denied that on Twitter. Such reports are “false,” he wrote. “No such action taken.”

At a White House briefing earlier in the day, Earnest restated the administration’s position that American military action in Iraq is dependent upon Baghdad forming a new, inclusive government.

“You don’t want to have a situation where you have an Iraqi government that is relying solely on American military might to remain in power,” he said. Washington especially wants to see a new government in Baghdad that does not include the incumbent prime minister, Nouri al Maliki, whom American officials have blamed for alienating large sections of Iraq’s population.



Reporters pressed Earnest about the difference between a political process in Baghdad and what appeared to be an imminent humanitarian crisis on Mount Sinjar in Iraq’s north. By all accounts the Yazidis need food and water now and can’t wait for Iraq to get a new prime minister.

Earnest allowed that Obama has taken action in the past when confronted with imminent potential humanitarian crisis, as in 2011 when the forces of Libyan president Moammar Qaddafi seemed poised to sack the city of Benghazi. That pressing danger prompted Obama to authorize airstrikes, Earnest said, so it’s possible the White House could apply a similar calculation to the Mount Sinjar situation. Still, he did not convey any sense of immediacy.

“At this point, I’m not in a position to describe to you any conclusions that have been reached by the president or anybody else in the administration about the national security implications for the United States of this specific humanitarian situation other than to say it’s one that we condemn and we’re very concerned about.”

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Re: American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2014, 06:15:05 PM »
Did Obama hear about the genocide of Christians on the news?

He didn't seem to be even slightly interested until now.

Or doesn't he even know yet what's been going on for months now??   **nononono*
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Re: American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2014, 06:39:13 PM »
A US Army Special Forces Major sat in my office Tuesday afternoon, and we killed the time until his agent arrived.

He said they called them ISIL, for Islamic in Syria and Levant, and he said the Kurds would kick their butts.

Yet the Kurds have not yet kicked their butts. The Iraqis turned tail and ran away, too.

These jihadis are said to be combat veterans, disciplined, using equipment the US gave to the Iraqis.

I hardly think some bombing will turn the tide.

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Re: American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2014, 06:56:14 PM »
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/08/07/235716/islamic-state-pushes-back-kurdish.html?sp=/99/100/&ihp=1

Jets, explosions reported near Islamic State lines as Kurds beg for U.S. help

By Mitchell Prothero

McClatchy Foreign StaffAugust 7, 2014

 IRBIL, Iraq — Jet aircraft attacked Islamic State positions outside the town of Kalak, 25 miles northwest of Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, a resident of Kalak told McClatchy early Friday.

The resident, reached by phone from Irbil, said she had seen the aircraft and had heard the explosions coming from behind Islamic State lines, which are slightly more than a mile away. The resident said because it was dark she could not see any markings on the aircraft.

Kurdish television reported that the bombers were American. There was no confirmation from U.S. officials in Washington, however, and the Pentagon spokesman, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, called reports that the U.S. had conducted airstrikes in Iraq “completely false.”

“No such action was taken,” the tweet said.

Iraqi fighter jets recently received from Russia also reportedly have engaged in bombing runs in the area this week after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki on Monday ordered the Iraqi air force to assist Kurdish forces.

The reported bombing came after a day of panic in the Kurdish capital following Islamic State militants’ seizure of four strategic towns on a key highway and their advance to positions just minutes from Irbil.

Hundreds of Kurdish peshmerga militiamen built earthen berms near Kalak on the highway that links Irbil with Mosul, the Iraqi city whose fall to Islamic State militants in early June touched off a sweep across northern and western Iraq that until Thursday had spared Kurdish areas.

But that quiet appeared to be over, with the Islamic State boldly saying in an Internet posting Thursday that it intended to capture Irbil, a city previously thought so secure that the United States two months ago chose it as one of two Iraqi cities safe enough to receive scores of staffers evacuated from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

“The Americans keep saying they will help us,” said Rosg Nuri Shawess, a top Kurdish military commander who was overseeing the defensive preparations. “Well, if they plan to help they had better do it now.”

From Kalak, about 25 miles northwest of Irbil, the front line of the Islamic State, which everyone here refers to as “Daash,” an Arabic acronym, could be seen slightly more than a mile away.

“Daash is testing our defenses,” said Shawess, who is a member of the Iraqi government’s national security council, pointing to two towns that fell Thursday to the Islamic State, Qaraqosh and Bartella, that were visible in the distance. “And if we don’t show them we are strong here, then we have lost Irbil.”

U.S. officials were cagey throughout the day about whether the United States planned to do to help fend off an Islamic State thrust at Irbil, where the U.S. also has recently expanded its CIA station and set up a Joint Operations Center to coordinate military activities with the Kurdish and Iraqi governments.

U.S. officials said specifically that the U.S. was considering dropping supplies to refugees trapped on a mountain near the Islamic State-controlled city of Sinjar.

The Kalak resident told McClatchy that her relatives near Sinjar had been told to stay away from the city and that many Sinjar residents were moving to leave the city.

But there were no specifics about military steps to counter the Islamists’ move toward Irbil. At the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest stuck closely to the administration’s months-old position that Iraq’s problems must be solved politically.

“There are no military solutions to the problems of Iraq,” he told reporters. He said the United States would move to protect American personnel but that American military action “would have to be closely tied to Iraqi political reforms.”

A sense of dread fell over the Kurdish capital as the magnitude of the threat became clear.

Western oil companies based in Irbil shut down operations and restricted their employees’ movements out of concerns for safety, while makeshift shelters popped up in public parks and churches in the Ain Kawa neighborhood to accommodate hundreds of people who’d fled the newly occupied towns. There was a noticeable increase in the presence of the Kurdish peshmerga militia in the city, and there were reports that hundreds of residents flooded the airport in hopes of buying tickets to elsewhere.

A refugee camp at Kalak that only two days ago was filled with tens of thousands of refugees who’d fled Mosul when it fell to the Islamic State was empty Thursday as the area became the new front line of a conflict that went from occasional clashes to a full-scale war between the Kurds and the Islamic State in less than a week.

Content to sit in Mosul and consolidate their grip over much of Iraq’s predominately Sunni Arab areas for six weeks, militants from the Islamic State first seized the city of Sinjar and key areas around Mosul Dam from Kurdish forces over the weekend. By Wednesday, the Kurds counterattacked in Sinjar, bolstered by thousands of fellow Kurdish fighters from Syria and Turkey. But the Islamic State responded with a range of attacks along the nearly 900-mile border separating the two sides, then seized the Mosul Dam and captured the Christian towns of Bartella and Qaraqosh on the way to Irbil.

The peshmerga appeared to be preparing to make a last stand at Kalak. Several hundred regulars in uniforms with well-maintained light weapons and heavy machine guns, backed by a few armored vehicles and a single Soviet-era T-55 tank, were digging in with earth movers along a string of desolate desert hills to prepare for what a top security official called a “very serious test.”

Shawess, the officer in charge of the forward lines, said his men were confident and well trained, a claim reinforced by the professional demeanor of his uniformed men. But the peshmerga will face Islamic State fighters armed with advanced U.S. weapons with just a handful of 12.7mm Soviet-era heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

“We need better weapons and help,” Shawess said. “They tried to attack this morning but were just testing us.”

Shawess said those attacks recalled the first Islamic State moves in Mosul before that city fell to the Islamists June 9.

“These tests are critical,” added Shawess. “When they first attacked Mosul I don’t know if they planned to take it, but when there was no resistance they acted quickly. We have to show them here they can’t take Irbil.”

He was hardly exaggerating. The 25 miles from this new front line to the outskirts of Irbil _ barely a 30-minute drive _ remained virtually undefended beyond the occasional cluster of peshmerga fighters on hilltops and another single T-55 tank sitting in an intersection about halfway down the road.

The Kurds have a long, proud history of military prowess, and civilians and retired peshmerga were turning out in force to support their uniformed compatriots. But while they were enthusiastic in their traditional Kurdish clothing, they seemed far more interested in recounting the history of previous victories than in preparing for a soon-to-come onslaught. Their weapons were a motley assortment of family firearms, some modern, many antique. Some men, old and portly or young and untrained, manned a series of checkpoints closer to the capital, with an eye for Arabs driving cars with Mosul plates. Some merely stood around.

“I have come to defend my country,” said Yassin, 60, who wore traditional tribal clothes and carried a Russian-made Dragonov sniper rifle, missing its scope, rendering it basically useless except for close-quarter fighting. “All Kurds know how to fight.”

But despite the positive attitude, word from the various fronts around Kurdistan was grim.

The Mosul Dam had fallen to the Islamic State, U.S. and Kurdish officials confirmed. It is the largest such structure in Iraq and controls a major Iraqi watershed, amid fears that the Islamic State could unleash a torrent of water and inundate hundreds of square miles of Iraq.

The link between Irbil and the Iraqi city of Kirkuk to the south, which fell under Kurdish control when Iraqi soldiers fled in June, also appeared in danger, with reports that the Islamic State had taken at least partial control of Makhmour, a town that lies along the primary highway between the two cities.

Falah Bakir, the foreign minister for the Kurdistan Regional Government, said in an interview with CNN that the Kurds faced disaster and needed immediate assistance. “We are left alone in the front to fight the terrorists of ISIS,” he said, using an acronym for the Islamic State, which used to call itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

“I believe the United States has a moral responsibility to support us, because this is a fight against terrorism, and we have proven to be pro-democracy, pro-West and pro-secularism,” Bakir said.

“I now know that the towns of Qaraqosh, Tal Kayf, Bartella and Karamlesh have been emptied of their original population and are now under the control of the militants,” Joseph Thomas, the Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk and Sulaimaniyah, told the Agence France Presse news agency. The fall of those villages represented the loss of the largest Christian communities in Iraq.

Kurdish officials repeatedly have claimed that the United States and the Iraqi government in Baghdad have refused to send military aid and that they have only Saddam Hussein-era weapons and limited ammunition to counter Islamic State forces that are armed with advanced American weaponry.

A statement attributed to the Islamic State posted Thursday on the Internet said that the Islamists would target Irbil as retaliation for Kurdish officials’ agreement earlier this week to coordinate operations against the Islamic State with the central government in Baghdad.

“We are pleased to announce to the Islamic nation a new liberation in Nineveh province, teaching the secular Kurds a lesson,” the statement said.

The United States has long been seen as the Kurdish region’s protector. After the first Gulf War ended in 1991, the U.S. imposed a no-fly zone over the region to prevent Saddam’s air force from attacking. The Kurdish zone became a rare outpost of economic development in an era when harsh trade restrictions were imposed on the rest of Iraq. After U.S. forces toppled Saddam in 2003, the region enjoyed enormous autonomy and was largely free of the sectarian warfare and chaos that plagued the rest of Iraq during the American occupation.


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Re: American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2014, 08:06:26 PM »
From Incirlik Air Base, maybe? Last I heard there was a decent USAF presence there.

Though as always, your counsel is wise.

Turkey??  They would go nuts, as they more or less support ISIS as long as they are killing Kurds.  No way would Turkey allow airstrikes to originate from their soil.

The only thing they could throw at ISIS at this point is a strike from a carrier in the Gulf, but we simply do not have any resources left in the area and such a mission would be so risky as to be near suicidal.  No friendly divert available, and with the ordnance loads they would need, you would have to have enormous tanker support inbound and outbound from the target(s).  And that's just one carrier strike.  To be effective you have to have multiple strikes, BDA, and restrike if necessary.  None of that is possible over there.  With the proliferation of shoulder-fired SAMs I think it would be incredibly risky to even attempt to penetrate (former) Iraqi airspace.


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Re: American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2014, 08:14:22 PM »
Well - they have a couple friendly diverts in Jordan - but you are really going to be coming in on fumes and prayers for those, looking at the crow flies details. Turkey does make more sense, and they are more worried about ISIS than they are about the Kurds right now.
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‘Today America Is Coming To Help’: Obama Announces ‘Targeted Airstrikes’ On Iraq Terrorists

Posted By Brendan Bordelon On 10:24 PM 08/07/2014 In | No Comments




On Thursday night, President Obama reluctantly announced “targeted airstrikes” in northern Iraq to protect American personnel, the capital city of Kurdistan and the thousands of civilians stranded on a mountain surrounded by Islamic terrorists.

Earlier this week terrorists fighting under the banner of the Islamic State (ISIL) pushed towards the Kurdish capital of Erbil and drove up to 40,000 people from the minority Yezedi religion up to a barren mountain to die of thirst.

Pressure was high on the White House to prevent the fall of a loyal American ally and stave off a likely genocide. And by Thursday night, President Obama had made a decision.

“Today I authorized two operations in Iraq,” he began. “Targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water, and are facing almost certain death.”

He explained that American diplomats and select military personnel in Erbil necessitated the bombardment of ISIL convoys less than 20 miles away and streaming towards the capital.

And he explained that “at the request of the Iraqi government,” the United States will act to prevent the destruction of the Yezidis stranded atop a desert mountain — “which would constitute genocide.”

“I’ve said before, the United States cannot and should not intervene every time there’s a crisis in the world,” he said. “So let me be clear about why we must act and act now.”

“When we face a situation like we do on that mountain,” he explained, “with innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale; when we have a mandate to help, in this case a request from the Iraqi government; and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States cannot turn a blind eye.”

“We can act,” he asserted, “carefully and responsibility to prevent a potential act of genocide. I’ve therefore authorized targeted airstrikes, if necessary, to help forces in Iraq as the fight to break the siege of Mount Sinjar and protect the civilians trapped there.”

“Earlier this week, one Iraqi cried to the world, ‘There is no one coming to help,’” he said. “Well, today America is coming to help.”

 
Obama also addressed inevitable critics of the strikes, ensuring that “American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq — because there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.”

“There is no decision that I take more seriously than the use of military force,” he later declared. “Over the last several years we have brought the vast majority of our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and I have been careful to resist calls to return time and again to our military, because America has other tools in our arsenal than our military.”

“But when the lives of American citizens are at risk, I will take action,” Obama said. “That’s my responsibility as commander-in-chief. And when many thousands of innocent civilians are faced with the danger of being wiped out, and we have the capacity to do something about it, we will take action. That is our responsibility as Americans.”

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Article printed from The Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com

URL to article: http://dailycaller.com/2014/08/07/today-america-is-coming-to-help-obama-announces-targeted-airstrikes-on-iraq-terrorists/
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