News / Middle East

    Still Waiting for Orders, US Military Has ISIL in Its Sights

    Still Waiting for Orders, US Military Has ISIL in Its Sightsi
    X
    Jeff Seldin
    June 20, 2014 12:38 AM
    The United States says that, for now, it is only sending military advisers to Baghdad to help the Iraqi government combat advances by militant Sunni Islamists, known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). But VOA's Jeff Seldin reports from the Pentagon that U.S. forces are poised to strike - if ordered to do so.
    The United States says that, for now, it is only sending military advisers to Baghdad to help the Iraqi government combat advances by militant Sunni Islamists, known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). But the Pentagon says U.S. forces are poised to strike - if ordered to do so.
     
    In the waters of the Persian Gulf, there are already reminders of the long reach of America’s military might as President Barack Obama warns the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant not to rest easy.
     
    “We will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it,” said Obama.
     
    The U.S. has been moving resources into place for days. On board the USS George HW Bush there are about 70 aircraft, including FA-18 Super Hornets and E-2C Hawkeyes, able to help coordinate strikes.
     
    Additionally, the U.S. Air Force says it has 90 to 100 aircraft - from fighters to bombers to drones - ready to go within hours.
     
    Retired Air Force Lieutenant General David Deptula says “it is a situation that is tailor-made for air power.”
     
    And with those aircraft in place, Deptula says ISIL militants could find Baghdad to be out of reach.
     
    “They have to move in sufficient numbers to make a difference.  But even if they don’t, with persistent surveillance, you can watch the movement and eliminate it as it occurs,” says Deptula, who is now dean at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.
     
    That’s not to say using air power against ISIL would be easy, a point made by the top U.S. military official to lawmakers Tuesday.
     
    “These forces are very much intermingled. It’s not as easy as looking at an iPhone video of a convoy and them immediately striking it," said General Martin Dempsey, Chairman, of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
     
    Part of ISIL’s success comes from its willingness to bury itself in civilian populations.  And drawing them out may take some help - like an effective Iraqi army, says former Army Ranger and military analyst, Paul Floyd, now with Stratfor.
     
    “They (the Iraqi security forces) would actually have to be making gains on the ground, flushing ISIL or ISIS out of urban populations to where they could be exposed and open to attacks,” says Floyd.
     
    For now, the U.S. seems content to fly an increasing number of manned surveillance planes and drones over Iraq, building an ever more precise picture of ISIL’s forces for if and when the call comes to strike.

    Jeff Seldin

    Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

    You May Like

    Video Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: David from: Alb
    June 20, 2014 9:45 AM
    You sir took my thoughts and put them on paper exactly as i saw it! I agree with you 100% now don't get me wrong I feel as
    though a few billion dollars can't be thrown away and terrorists need to be terrorized once
    in awhile and most definitely need to stop them but do it by air and nothing else and do it now without ticking off the whole region. Good luck Mr President!

    by: meanbill from: USA
    June 20, 2014 12:34 AM
    MY OPINION? -- My personal opinion is that the man who bowed to the Sunni Saudi King, won't do anything against a Sunni (ISIL) terrorist, until that Sunni Saudi King tells him to do it?

    by: Mark from: Virginia
    June 19, 2014 10:35 PM
    History repeats...history always repeats.

    All of this is sounding very, very familiar to what another President, 48 years ago, said. The year was 1966 and Lyndon Johnson informed the Nation that he was sending 'several hundred' military advisors to a certain SE Asian country to 'advise' a government and to 'protect' American interests in that region. That country was South Vietnam. Certain politicians likened that move to a camel trying to stick its nose through a doorway; the head would enter and you knew the rest of the body was sure to follow. And follow, it did. An escalation of 'boots on the ground' that reached a peak in 1969 with nearly half a million American military forces in country.

    It is not going to end with just these 300 advisors (it was 175 previously, I believe...that number is sure to keep rising). We also had a carrier task force in the region in SE Asia too, ready to strike at a moments notice, then too. In the Gulf of Tonkin, an incident took place where North Vietnamese gunboats allegedly fired upon a US destroyer, and Johnson retaliated with the first combat airstrike against North Vietnamese targets.

    The parallels are too identical. What happened 48 years ago is going to happen again today. The only difference this time around? It will be our second involvement in Iraq after having left there a few years earlier.
    We shot ourselves in the foot 48 years ago, we shot ourselves in the foot 11 years ago, and we are about to shoot ourselves in the foot again today. I don't know about anyone else, but my foot is getting really, really sore now...

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.