Operation Inherent Resolve enters ‘new phase’ as US forces land in Anbar

Operation Inherent Resolve enters ‘new phase’ as US forces land in Anbar.

In what he calls a “new phase” of the fight against the Islamic State, President Obama now plans to send up to 1,500 troops to Anbar province, but claims they will not be directly involved in combat.

Following Islamic State gains in Anbar province against an ineffective Iraqi military, the Pentagon confirms that an advance party of 50 U.S. troops landed in al Assad air base, which lies about 100 miles west of Baghdad and, during the U.S. occupation, was the second-largest U.S. air base in Iraq. The forces are preparing for additional advisers to assist Iraqi security forces in the fight against ISIS.

Obama told troops in MacDill Air Force Base that “The American forces do not and will not have a combat mission.” However, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said if the Iraqi military needs American forces on the battlefield, he could make that recommendation to the president.

Obama said that U.S. ground forces will provide close air support once Iraqi forces are able to go on the offensive. A White House spokesman said that American advisors could be forward deployed on a “case-by-case basis” if needed, but “would not be personally or directly engaging the enemy.” Continue reading

List of anti-Islamic State coalition nations providing military assistance

The U.S. government has stated that it is part of a multi-national coalition in the fight against the Islamic State, but details of what each nation has contributed are scarce. Many nations have contributed humanitarian assistance, but below is a list of other nations’ known involvement in terms of military assistance.

Albania: Transported arms and ammunition to Iraqi Kurds.

Australia: Has sent hundreds of military advisors to the region. Conducting airstrikes against targets in Iraq and also supplying arms and ammunition.

Bahrain: Conducted airstrikes in Syria.

Belgium: Conducted airstrikes in Iraq.

Bulgaria: Contributing arms and ammunition to northern Iraq.

Canada: Providing several million in military assistance. Has sent several dozen military advisors. Conducting airstrikes against targets in Iraq as well as airlifting supplies.

Czech Republic: Supplying Iraqis with arms and ammunition, including fighter jets. Also pledges training assistance for Kurdish forces.

Denmark: Conducted airstrikes in Iraq.

France: Conducted airstrikes in Iraq.

Germany: Conducted airstrikes in Iraq. Committed to send paratroopers, arms, and armored vehicles to Iraq as well as providing training to Kurds.

Greece: Pledged military assistance such as ammunition.

Italy: Sent 280 troops to train Kurdish fighters as well as training Kurds in Italy. Italy also sent two Predator drones for surveillance and 25 armored vehicles to Jordan. Is refueling planes from anti-IS airstrikes and has provided arms and ammunition.

Kuwait: Permitting bases to be used for staging for coalition forces fighting in Iraq.

Netherlands: Conducting air strikes in Iraq. Supplying Kurds with protective equipment and transporting arms and ammunition.

New Zealand: Pledges training for Iraqi forces in the future.

Norway: Pledges training for Iraqi forces in the future, but no combat forces.

Qatar: Aircraft playing a supporting role in airstrikes.

Saudi Arabia: Conducting airstrikes in Syria.

Singapore: Pledges air refueling and military advisors.

Spain: Pledged around 300 military advisors to train Iraqi forces, but will not participate in combat.

United Arab Emirates: Conducted airstrikes against targets in Syria. Permits Australian forces to use their bases.

United Kingdom: Surveillance flights in Syria and airstrikes in Iraq. Has shipped arms and ammunition to Kurdish forces in Iraq.

Of interest: Slovenia was placed on the U.S. State Department’s list of countries in the anti-IS coalition, but expressed frustration that it was added without their permission. While the U.S. government said that Turkey allows U.S. aircraft to use their bases, Turkey says they do not.

Human rights group: Islamic State executed 600 prisoners

CBS reports that in June, Islamic State militants killed several around 600 inmates from a prison near Mosul, in northern Iraq. The jihadists separated Shiite males, along with several Kurds and Yazidis, from the rest of the population, where they were driven to a ravine, lined up, and shot with machine guns. Only between 30 and 40 individuals survived the massacre, and conducted interviews with Human Rights Watch. Sunni Muslims and a small number of Christians were reportedly released.

IS is reported to have conducted numerous mass executions as they conquered territory in northern Iraq. Also in June, the jihadist group announced that they had reportedly executed 1,700 Iraqi military and security personnel.

Lebanese military launches offensive against jihadists

lebThe Lebanese military launched an assault on Sunni jihadists in Tripoli and has experienced heavy fighting. The fighters are linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, according to AsiaNews.

The fighting forced militants to retreat from Tripoli and the neighboring suburb of Bab al-Tabbaneh. The (Al Qaeda-linked) Al Nusra Front has threatened to kill the Lebanese soldiers they claim to have captured if the government doesn’t put an end to the assault.

Operation Inherent Resolve Roundup: Tuesday

U.S. and partner nation aircraft hit several Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria on Monday and Tuesday, according to U.S. Central Command.

In Iraq, two airstrikes near Fallujah destroyed a small IS unit and a tank.  Four airstrikes in the vicinity of Mosul Dam destroyed a small IS unit, a fighting position, an IS vehicle, and a logistics base. One airstrike west of Baghdad destroyed an IS-occupied building and a small unit.  One airstrike in the vicinity of Sinjar struck an IS fighting emplacement and destroyed six vehicles.  One airstrike northwest of Haditha destroyed an IS-occupied building used as a staging area.

In Syria, four airstrikes near Kobani destroyed four IS fighting positions and a small unit.

Drone strike in Pakistan kills Haqqani Network commander

Reuters reports that a CIA drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal region of South Waziristan killed at least five foreign fighters including a Haqqani Network commander and a senior Arab commander. The strike occurred in the Birmil area, which is a known Taliban stronghold. Abdullah Haqqani sent suicide bombers into Afghanistan. Pakistan’s Dawn news agency says that the strike also destroyed a vehicle loaded with arms and ammunition.

Long War Journal reports that the U.S. has conducted 17 drone strikes in Pakistan this year, and eight this month, making October the busiest month for drone strikes since January 2013.

Both Canadian jihadists were suspected of extremism prior to attacks

The UK Guardian reports that Martin Couture Rouleau, a recent convert to Islam was under surveillance by Canadian authorities before killing one Canadian soldier and wounding another in a hit-and-run attack on Oct. 21. Rouleau was shot and killed after a brief vehicle chase with police. Canadian officials state Rouleau was “clearly linked to terrorist ideology” and was one of 90 suspected extremists being monitored for intending to travel abroad for terrorist purposes or having recently returned to the country, and authorities had revoked his passport.

Michael (aka Abdullah) Zehaf-Bibeau, who carried out another deadly attack on a Canadian soldier at the National War Memorial was not one of the 90 individuals under surveillance, according to Sky News, but did have his passport application delayed due to concerns of his extremism.

The Islamic State recently asked supporters to carry out attacks against countries that are part of the campaign against IS in Iraq and Syria. Canada already has special operations forces serving alongside the Iraqi military and has committed six CF-18 Hornet fighters, two reconnaissance aircraft, and a mid-air refueling tanker to the theater for six months.

Boeing delivers new special operations helicopter

The MH-47G Chinook (Boeing photo)
The MH-47G Chinook (Boeing photo)

The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment received it’s first new aircraft since the unit was formed in 1981. The Boeing MH-47G Chinook is built specifically for use in special operations and has numerous state-of-the art improvements over their predecessor, such as increased fuel capacity, tougher airframe, and laser-based countermeasures. Once the aircraft finishes testing, it is scheduled to enter service in September, 2015. The new Chinooks will replace helicopters with airframes that have an average of 46 years of service.

Green Berets: Afghan army incompetent

Following an incident that killed five U.S. Special Forces soldiers in June, Green Berets report that the Afghan army hide during battles and shirks responsibilities.

The Pentagon publicly portrays the Afghan military as steadily improving and handling their own security operations since June, 2013. But according to the Washington Times, the a report from the troops charged with training and advising Afghan forces in the field reveal that Afghans remain incapable of fighting and maneuvering at night, cannot perform complex operations like close air support, refuse to take the lead on combat and clearing operations, and simply stop fighting during battles, further endangering U.S. advisors who have to take up the fight. The report is part of an investigation from a battle where a U.S. bomber accidentally killed five Special Forces soldiers in Zabul Province’s Gaza Valley in June, 2014.
U.S. forces are set to depart Afghanistan in 2016.

Monday’s Inherent Resolve roundup

On Monday, U.S. and partner nation aircraft conducted four airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and nine in Iraq.

Kobani, Syria
Kobani, Syria

According to Central Command, four IS fighting positions and a small IS unit were destroyed near Kobani, Syria.

Strikes in the area of the Mosul Dam destroyed a small IS unit and a tank near Fallujah, Iraq. Near the Mosul Dam, planes hit a small IS unit, a fighting position, a vehicle, and a logistics base. An airstrike west of Baghdad destroyed an IS-occupied building and a small unit.

Monday's airstrikes
Monday’s airstrikes

One airstrike in the vicinity of Sinjar struck a fighting emplacement and destroyed six vehicles. Another airstrike northwest of Haditha destroyed an IS-occupied building used for staging.

Last week, French warplanes hit an IS training compound in Hawija.

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