Sep 24 2014

Exploring the Muddy Waters of Obama’s Strategy in Syria and Iraq

Feature Stories | Published 24 Sep 2014, 10:20 am | Comments Off on Exploring the Muddy Waters of Obama’s Strategy in Syria and Iraq -

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Up to 20 targets inside Syria were hit by the US and 5 Arab allies kicking off a new phase in the US campaign. The strikes were aimed at the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) but also hit Jabhat Al Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al Qaida. The US also dropped 8 solo strikes against the Khorasan group, that media are calling “a shadowy” former Al Qaida spin off.

The bombs were dropped in various parts of northern Syria, particularly around Raqqa, an area under ISIS control. Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told the press that the US was still assessing the effectiveness of the campaign but that the attack had been “very successful.” So far the US has not revealed how many casualties there were but the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that a minimum of 70 people affiliated with ISIS were killed. There were apparently also 50 fighters and 8 civilians affiliated with Al Nusra who were killed. Today, on the second day of strikes, 8 Kurdish villages were struck, ostensibly by US bombs, near the Syria-Turkey border.

While the strikes were not coordinated with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, his government says that Secretary of State John Kerry sent a letter through Iraq informing the Syrian government of the air campaign just hours before. The state-controlled television station reported that Assad did not see the air strikes as an act of aggression and that the US and Syria now had, “a common enemy.” President Obama plans to address the UN General Assembly this week to garner international support for the campaign.

GUEST: Peter Certo, editor of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. He is also the associate editor of Right Web, a project of IPS

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