As the United States began bombing runs on ISIS – or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – on the 24th of September, many wondered whether the U.S. was stepping straight into an all-out war. The departure from Iraq also left many Americans questioning if the Hawks would stay in their nest; although recent developments have said otherwise.
By beheading American Journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, the ISIS militants hoped to dismiss any notion of American aggression towards Islamic expansion, with the group warning that “We will drown all of you in blood.” ISIS insists that their violent actions correlate directly to American intervention.
Yet, if left alone, the group will accumulate a mass of connections, weaponry, and funds that will threaten the West. Therefore, the idea of isolationism, present during the Cold War era, is dismissed.
The idea of another homeland threat galvanized the president into taking considerable action. President Barrack Obama, appearing at the 69th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, said the group “must be degraded, and ultimately destroyed.” Furthermore, the president voiced that allies will “come together to reject the cancer of violent extremism.”
Worldwide unity also came at a head on the 24th of September when an ISIS regimine, Jund al-Khilafah, abducted and killed French tourist Herve Gourdel. ISIS stated that the reason was, once again, due to airstrikes. The genuine evidence of the tourist’s death was made clear by the video of the beheading, distributed by the SITE Intelligence Group, which is a terrorism watchdog.
Not only is the United States bombing areas in Iraq, but the country is arming and training 5,000 Syrians to fight the well-equipped terrorist force, who have tanks, grenade launchers, and a multitude of light and heavy arms.
Secretary of State John Kerry, an instrumental figure in the fight against ISIS, stated that the U.S. was in fact not in a war, but in a counter-terrorism operation. “What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counter-terrorism operation, and it’s to go on for some period of time,” Kerry said.
This operation may take a while, though. So far, the U.S. has launched 150 air strikes into Iraq. With anywhere between 20,000 and 30,000 armed fighters, ISIS will be quite a tough target to defeat. Thus, significant intelligence will need to be obtained in order to locate ISIS strongholds; this will hopefully lead to the elimination of central planners.
Some information gleaned from Time.com and thehill.com.