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

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Crowdfunding Helps Save Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit

Smithsonian turns to Kickstarter to raise more than $700,000 to help preserve the spacesuit worn by the first man to walk on the moon More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs