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2014 American-led intervention in Iraq

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2014 American-led intervention in Iraq

2014 American-led intervention in Iraq
Part of the 2014 military intervention against ISIL, Iraqi insurgency (2011–present), and the Global War on Terrorism

An American USS George H.W. Bush prior to the launch of operations over Iraq
Date 15 June 2014 – present (7 months, 1 week and 3 days)[1][2]
Location Iraq
Result Ongoing
  • US, French, UK, Belgian, Canadian, Australian and Dutch airstrikes on ISIL positions in Iraq
  • Multinational humanitarian and arming of ground forces efforts
  • Coalition advising and training ground forces
Belligerents
Coalition forces:

 United States (leader)
 Australia[3]
 Belgium[4]
 Canada[5]
 Denmark[6][7]
 France[8][9]
 Germany[10][11]
 Italy[12]
 Netherlands[13][14]
 New Zealand[15]
 Norway[16][17]
 Spain[18]
 Turkey (trainers on ground)[19]
 United Kingdom[20]


Local forces:
 Iraq
 Iraqi Kurdistan


Humanitarian support

 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Commanders and leaders
Barack Obama

Chuck Hagel
Lloyd Austin
Andrew J. Loiselle
David Cameron
Michael Fallon
Andrew Pulford
Nick Clegg[34]
Stephen Harper
Rob Nicholson
Thomas J. Lawson
Yvan Blondin
Tony Abbott
David Johnston
David Johnston
Craig Orme[35]
François Hollande[36]
John Key
Jean-Yves Le Drian
Pierre de Villiers
Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Peter Bartram
Matteo Renzi
Roberta Pinotti
Claudio Graziano
Mark Rutte
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert
Frans Timmermans
Sander Schnitger


Fuad Masum
Nouri al-Maliki
Haider al-Abadi
Masoud Barzani
Jaafar Sheikh Mustafa
Mustafa Said Qadir
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Self-proclaimed Caliph)

Abu Mohammad al-Adnani (Spokesperson)
Abu Muslim al-Turkmani (Deputy, Iraq)
Abu Waheeb (Anbar Commander)
Abu Hajar al-Souri 
(Top Aide)[37]

Ali Mohammed al-Shayer (Senior ISIL Leader)[38]
Strength
Around 100,000 fighters (according to Iraqi Kurdistan Chief of Staff.)[72]

1 Mi-28 or Mi-35 Helicopter[73]

3 Drones[74][75][76]
Casualties and losses
 United States
  • 2 Marines (non-combat related)[77]
  • 1 F-15 damaged[78]
16 killed (9 August),[79] (see section ISIL casualties)
162 vehicles, 21 weapons systems, and 29 facilities damaged or destroyed (as of mid-September 2014)[80]

The 2014 American-led intervention in Iraq started on June 15, 2014, when President Obama ordered U.S. forces to be dispatched to the region, in response to offensives in Iraq conducted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. American troops went, at the invitation of the Iraqi Government, to assess Iraqi forces and the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).[81]

In early August 2014, ISIL attacked Kurdish-held territory in northern Iraq, and captured three towns in northern Iraq, close to the autonomous region Iraqi Kurdistan.[82] Consequently, the U.S. started supplying the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces with weapons on 5 August. The U.S. on 7 August also started humanitarian aid air droppings of food, water and medicine for civilians fleeing ISIL in the Sinjar Mountains.[83] The next day, 8 August, coalition forces began airstrikes against ISIL positions in Iraq.

These airstrikes issued in more or less concerted warfare of U.S., Iraqi Kurdish and government forces, France, United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands against ISIL, and more countries sent military aid to Kurds and Iraq and humanitarian aid to northern Iraq.

Early losses

Beginning 5 June 2014, ISIL militants advanced deep into northern Iraq from Syria, marking a major spillover of the Syrian Civil War into Iraq. The Iraqi military lost Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, and the surrounding territory, to ISIL forces by 10 June.[84] Kurdish forces were exposed to the threat of attacks from ISIL, whose militants took up positions near Mosul and the Mosul Dam and threatened Kirkuk, where peshmerga troops took control from the Iraqi government.[85]

US surveillance and military advising in Iraq

Since 2013 the U.S. had been flying unarmed drones over Iraq to gather information on insurgents.[86][87]

At the invitation of the Iraqi Government, on June 15 President Obama ordered dozens of U.S. troops to Iraq in response to offensives by ISIL (see previous section), to assess Iraqi forces and the ISIL threat.[81][88] On 26 June 2014, the U.S. started to survey over Baghdad also with armed drones “primarily” for protection of 180 U.S. military advisers in the area, had since some time been flying also manned aircraft over Iraq, and continued doing so.[87][89]

On 29–30 June 2014, the U.S. increased the number of its troops in Iraq from 180 to 480, to prevent ISIL from taking control of Baghdad International Airport, which the US said would be critical to any evacuation of Americans from Baghdad, and to protect U.S. citizens and property.[90]

In July, Obama announced that owing to the continuing violence in Iraq and the growing influence of non-state actors such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the United States would be elevating its security commitment in the region. Approximately 800 U.S. troops secured American installations like the Embassy in Baghdad and the Consulate in Erbil as well as seizing control of strategic locations like the Baghdad International Airport.

Around 13 July, a classified military report concluded that many Iraqi army units were deeply infiltrated by either Sunni extremist informants or Shiite personnel backed by Iran, which would bring Americans wanting to advise the Iraqi forces into danger.[91][92][93]

Around 5 August the U.S. military forces in Iraq were acting to "assess and to advise [Iraqi security forces] as they confront [ISIL] and the complex security situation on the ground.”[94]

Weapons to Kurds, humanitarian aid to civilians

In early August 2014, ISIL launched a new Northern Iraq offensive and on 3 August conquered the towns Sinjar, Wana, and Zumar in northern Iraq close to the autonomous region Iraqi Kurdistan [82] In reaction, the U.S. on 5 August started directly supplying Iraqi Kurds with weapons to fight ISIL.

On 7 August, ISIL punctured Kurdish defensives, and Kurdish forces retreated from Qaraqosh (60 km west of Erbil) and surrounding area driving civilians, including Christians and Yazidis, into the Sinjar Mountains. President Obama stated that these families "are faced with a choice: descend and be slaughtered or stay and slowly die of hunger,"[95] That same day, the U.S. dropped food and water for civilians in the area fleeing ISIL.[83] ISIL announced its plan to massacre Yazidis who had fled to and were trapped on Mount Sinjar.[96][97]

Obama authorizes airstrikes

President Obama makes a statement on Iraq and dealing with ISIL, 7 August 2014.
U.S. Navy F/A-18 fighters bomb Islamic State artillery targets on August 8, 2014.

On the evening of 7 August, U.S. President Barack Obama gave a live address to the Nation. He described the worsening conditions in Iraq and said that ISIL’s persecution and threatening with extinction of Yazidis, a religious minority in northern Iraq, in particular had convinced him that U.S. military action was necessary. The President said that he had ordered airstrikes to protect American diplomats, civilians and military in Erbil at the American consulate or advising Iraqi forces, prevent a potential massacre (genocide) of ISIL on thousands of Yazidis on Mount Sinjar, and to stop ISIL’s advance on Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish Autonomous Region[97] where the U.S. had a consulate and a joint operations center with the Iraqi military.[95]

On Friday 8 August, U.S. Navy McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighters bombed Islamic State artillery units. U.S. fighters later bombed Islamic State military convoys,[98] some of them advancing Erbil and besieging Kurdish forces defending Erbil.[95][96] A round of U.S. airstrikes in the afternoon struck 8 Islamic State targets near Erbil.

On 8 and 9 August, Obama extended the purposes of the airstrikes of 8 August as to be:[95][96][99] (1) protecting Americans in Iraq; (2) helping Iraqi minorities stranded on Sinjar Mountain; (3) breaking the siege that had stranded thousands of Yazidi atop that Sinjar mountain; (4) preventing massacres (genocides) to Yazidis and other minority groups as announced by ISIL;[96][97] (5) helping Iraqis meet the threat from ISIL.

Sinjar massacre

Between 7 and 13 August, the U.S. and the United Kingdom mounted a humanitarian mission by air to provide supplies to the trapped Yazidis on Mount Sinjar (see also section ’Humanitarian efforts’), while further attacking ISIL positions in the mountain's vicinity.[100][101]

After the airstrikes of 8 August (see above), on 9 August U.S. forces again launched a series of 4 air attacks against ISIL fighters, this time primarily aimed at armored fighting vehicles. A combination of US warplanes and drones destroyed four armored personnel carriers and at least one unarmored fighting vehicle near Sanjin, in northwestern Iraq.[102][103] The U.S. airstrikes that day killed 16 ISIL fighters, Iraqi officials reported.[79]

On 10 August, U.S. forces launched a series of 5 air attacks which targeted ISIL armed vehicles as well as a mortar position. Kurdish and Iraqi forces would cooperate closely with the U.S. in these fights against ISIL (see section 'Strategics'). Assisted by these U.S. air attacks, Kurdish forces claimed to have recaptured the towns of Mahmour and Gweyr[104] from ISIL control. An Iraqi airstrike conducted 9—11 August in Sinjar killed 45 ISIS militants, Iraqi officials reported.[79]

On 12 August, U.S. made airstrikes against ISIL mortar positions north of Sinjar.[101]

The Pentagon characterized airstrikes as stopgap military actions that would not be able to significantly disrupt ISIL activities.[105]

On 14 August, U.S airstrikes and Kurdish ground forces had broken the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar, allowing thousands of Yazidi refugees to escape. This made an U.S. ground intervention to rescue the Yazidis stranded on the mountaintop unlikely.[106]

Mosul Dam

The U.S. announced a shift in focus to arming the Kurds and reversing ISIL gains.[107]

On 16 August there were 9 airstrikes, on 17 August 14.[108] On 16 August, U.S. drones and warplanes began a close air campaign aimed at supporting the advance of Kurdish fighters moving toward the Mosul Dam. Kurdish sources commented that this was the "heaviest US bombing of militant positions since the start of air strikes."[109][110] The fate of the dam is not contested, as of 18 August. The air campaign drove the Islamic State from the dam.[110] This marked a shift in the use of U.S. Forces. In a letter to Congress, President Obama explained that he would now also be using U.S. military to protect Iraqi infrastructure and to pursue ISIL, even when they did not threaten the interests that he laid out during the initial commitment to the conflict.[111]

September

Locations where the U.S has launched airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq (as of September 16th.)

On 8 September, the Iraqi army with close air support from U.S. F-18 aircraft manage to retake the key Haditha dam. Following the recapture, Iraqi troops moved on to recapture the town of Barwana. Iraqi state television reported that 15 ISIL militants were killed in the battle.[112] Following the recent Iraqi victory, ISIS responded with the public execution of David Haines.[113]

On 16 September, following a speech by Barack Obama on the expansion of the air campaign over Iraq, the Iraqi Army requested U.S. close air support over an ISIL firing position near the city. This indicated the first round of airstrikes authorized by Barack Obama to go outside the original plan and engage militants with the authority of the Iraqi government.[114] This marks the 162nd airstrike against the Islamic State.[114]

Strikes in Syria and Iraq, 24 September 2014

Around 23 September, Lloyd Austin, the general in charge of U.S. Central Command, has been confirmed to be the top officer in charge of the campaign against the ISIL in Iraq and Syria.[115]

Around 28 September 2014, airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition together with Iraqi Army ground forces clashing with ISIL militants halted an ISIL offensive by Amariya al-Falluja, 40 km (25 miles) west of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, a BBC reporter on the spot reported.[116]

On 30 September, the U.S. launched eleven airstrikes in Iraq and the UK conducted their first two airstrikes in Iraq in this intervention. Together with eleven U.S. strikes in Syria against ISIL these 24 strikes were the highest number of strikes against ISIL on one day since 8 August.[117]

By the end of September 2014, the United States Navy and Air Force had conducted 240 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, as well as 1,300 tanker refueling missions, totaling 3,800 sorties by all types of aircraft.[118]

October

11 October, 10,000 ISIL troops headed from Mosul and Syria toward the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad,[119] and ISIL stood on the verge of taking whole Anbar province just west of Baghdad.[120] The provincial council’s deputy head, Al-Issawi, said they then asked Iraq’s government to ask the U.S. to bring in ground forces; the Iraqi government however squarely denied to have received such demand from Anbar.[120] 12 October, ISIL came within 25 km (15.5 miles) of the Baghdad airport, U.S. General Dempsey told. The U.S. then deployed low-flying Apache attack helicopters to keep ISIL at bay.[121][122]

As of 22 October, the U.S. had spent $424 million on both its bombing campaigns against ISIL.[118]

Contributions to August intervention

Military aid to Kurds

  • The United States had on 5 August 2014 begun with direct supply of munitions to the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces and, with Iraq’s agreement, the shipment of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program weapons to the Kurds, according to Zalmay Khalilzad, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and the U.N., in the Washington Post,[123] and the following days the American CIA secretly sent arms to the Kurds. Before 11 August, U.S. and allies had started rushing antitank weapons etc. to Kurdish fighters, and the U.S. intended to provide longer-range weapons.[124]
  • The United Kingdom placed the Special Air Service on the ground briefly and are airlifting munitions to the Kurds from an unnamed[107] Eastern European nation.[125][126] Members of the 2nd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment, have also been deployed to the area.[127]
  • Germany has provided instructors to train Kurdish Peshmerga troops.[12] It is also supporting the Peshmerga with shipments of machine guns and ammunition, anti-tank missiles, armored transport vehicles and personal equipment like night vision goggles, helmets, vests, radio sets and other equipment. It hopes to provide equipment for 10,000 Peshmerga troops.[128]
  • France is planning to ship arms directly to the Kurds.[125]
  • Italy decided to give military aid to the Kurds.[129]
    • Spokesman Halgurd Hikmat for the Peshmerga Ministry confirmed that the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, and also Finland have agreed to supply weapons and military goods to Kurdish Peshmerga. Erbil-based BASNEWS reported that the Kurdistan Regional Government, in cooperation with the Iraqi and American governments, will open a military air base in Erbil.[130]
  • Australia in September began using RAAF C-17s and C-130Js to airlift arms and munitions to forces in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.[131][132][133] Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in October his country could dispatch up to 200 special forces troops to "advise" local forces in a "non-combat" role.[134]
  • Croatia in late August began sending arms to the Kurds. The armaments from Croatia[135] are particularly useful to the effort because of the fact that they are compatible with the Kurds' Russian made weapons systems which make up the majority of their equipment.
  • The Czech Republic has or will provide weapons to local forces.[12] The Czech Republic also sent (with the help of Royal Canadian Air Force) ammunition to the Kurds. The supply consisted of 10 million rounds for AK-47, 8 million rounds for machinegun, 5,000 warheads for RPG and 5,000 hand grenades.[136]
  • Estonia, Hungary, Greece, and Bulgaria have or will provide weapons to local forces.[12]
    • The European Union welcomed the "decision by individual Member States to respond positively to the call by the Kurdish regional authorities to provide urgently military material."[107]
  • Albania has or will provide weapons to local forces.[12] Albania in late August began sending arms to the Kurds. With the help of Western air transport systems, Albania has sent 22 million rounds of AK-47 7.62 millimeter bullets, 15,000 hand grenades and 32,000 artillery shells to the Kurdish forces.[28] The armaments from Albania[137] are particularly useful to the effort because of the fact that they are compatible with the Kurds' Russian made weapons systems which make up the majority of their equipment.

Military aid to Iraqi government

  • After the United States’s had in June 2014 started to send troops to Iraq to secure American interests and assess and advise the Iraqi forces (see section US surveillance and military advising in Iraq), President Barack Obama end of September planned to send 1,600 troops to Iraq as “advisers” to the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces. 800 of them would provide security for soldiers and Marines and for property; hundreds would train and advise Iraqi and Kurdish forces how to fight ISIS.[138] 8–9 November Obama doubled the number of American soldiers in Iraq to some 3,100.[41][139]
  • Germany is shipping non-lethal military equipment to the Iraqi Central Government[140] and the Kurdish Regional Government.[125]
  • Canadian Prime Minister Harper announced on 4 September 2014 that Canada would deploy "about 100" military advisers to be based in Baghdad assisting the Iraqi Military in the fight against ISIS. These personnel are special operations forces which will work closely with US special forces to "provide advice that will help the government of Iraq and its security forces be more effective against ISIL", but their role is not expected to be direct combat. CBC News reports that about 100 Canadians will be deployed, primarily to help Kurdish forces.[141]
  • Italy has offered to supply weapons, ammunition, and other aid to local forces in Iraq.[12] The prime minister of Italy Matteo Renzi visited Iraq and the Kurds on 20 August to consider the response to ISIL. He said that without international involvement it would be a "new Srebrenica".[129]
  • New Zealand in November announced that ten military personnel would be sent to the region in order to advise the Iraqi army, with the potential for further personnel being sent to protect the advisers.[15]
  • Denmark sent 120 military personnel to Iraq in November to train the Iraqi army.[142]
  • Spain has provided 300 instructors to train the Iraqi Army and offered to provide weapons to the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces,[143] and said in September 2014 it would station a Patriot missile battery and 130 servicemen in Turkey in case of cross-border attacks against its NATO ally.[144]
  • Norway is sending 5 headquarters personal, 120 advisors to work with Iraqi troops, and has used transport aircraft to deliver supplies to Iraq.

Airstrikes and air support

Facilitating or preparing for airstrikes

  • Italy has offered to assist coalition partners in air-to-air refueling and ISR operations with one KC-767, four Tornado IDS attack planes, and two UAVs Predators.[12][167] Air operations continue.[168]
  • Spain had in September announced that its contribution to ‘a US-led anti-IS coalition’ would remain limited to weapons, transport assistance, etc., for the Iraqi government,[144] but has in October offered to assist coalition partners in transport, air-to-air refueling and ISR operations.[143]
  • The Grand National Assembly of Turkey on 2 October allowed foreign soldiers to use Turkish bases for a fight against ISIL, after pressure from the U.S. government on Ankara to join the anti-ISIL coalition.[169][170]

Humanitarian efforts

Bottled water containers are loaded on a U.S. Air Force C-17 for an airdrop on August 8.

The United States and international partners have undertaken a large humanitarian effort to support refugees stranded in northern Iraq with airdropped supplies.

On August 7, 2 Lockheed C-130 Hercules's and 1 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III dropped tens of thousands of meals and thousands of gallons of drinking water to Yazidi refugees stranded in the Sinjar mountains by advancing IS forces.[83][171] On 9 August 2014, U.S. aircraft again dropped humanitarian supplies over northern Iraq, this time consisting of 4,000 gallons of drinking water and 16,000 ready-to-eat meals.[172]

The United Kingdom started on 10 August with humanitarian supply airdrops to those Yazidi refugees on Mount Sinjar.[173]

On the night of 13/14 August a 16-aircraft mission including US C-17s and C-130Hs, a British C-130J, and an Australian C-130J airdropped supplies to Yezidi civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar in what was later described as "the first mass air delivery of humanitarian cargo since the outbreak of violence in East Timor in 1999."[174][175]

Humanitarian intervention efforts per country:

  • Australian C-130J transport aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force based in the Middle East on August 13/14, 2014, started airdropping humanitarian aid in Northern Iraq.[174][176]
  • Denmark has committed a C-130 transport aircraft and money for relief efforts.[7][177]
  • France plans to contribute to ongoing humanitarian efforts in Iraq, in addition to offering asylum to Iraqi Christians fleeing the violence.[178]
  • Germany ramped up humanitarian spending in Northern Iraq and sent 4 transport aircraft.[179]
  • Italy started humanitarian support.[129]
  • Sweden expressed support for military assistance by others but for legal reasons will only provide humanitarian support.
  • United Kingdom made humanitarian supply airdrops to Yazidi refugees on Mount Sinjar starting on 10 August 2014,[173][180] using Royal Air Force C-130's operating from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, while surveillance was provided by Panavia Tornado GR4s.[181] It has been announced that Boeing Chinooks will also be deployed.[182]
  • New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully has announced that New Zealand will provide $500,000 to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help people displaced by fighting in Iraq.[183]
  • The European Commission of the European Union announced it would boost humanitarian aid to Iraq to €17m, and approved special emergency measures to meet the crisis. On 15 August 2014, 20 of the 28 EU foreign ministers met in Brussels to discuss military and humanitarian assistance.[184][185]

ISIL casualties

Killed ISIL fighters are irregularly registered and reported. On 9 August, U.S. airstrikes killed 16 ISIL fighters, Iraqi officials reported.[79] Between 9–11 August, in a concerted U.S.-Iraqi operation, an Iraqi airstrike killed 45 ISIL men.[79] On 8 September, in an operation of Iraqi forces with U.S. aitstrikes, 15 ISIL fighters were killed, Iraq reported.[112]

Non-combat U.S. casualties

The coalition suffered its first casualty of the conflict on 2 October, when a United States Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashed in the Persian Gulf after takeoff from USS Makin Island, leaving one of its crewmen missing and presumed dead.[186]

Extending U.S. presence on Iraqi ground

While some U.S. troops were already active in Iraq for several purposes since June 2014 (see section Background), on 13 August, the U.S. deployed another 130 military advisers to Northern Iraq,[187] and up to 20 U.S. Marines and special forces servicemen landed on Mount Sinjar from V-22 aircraft to coordinate the evacuation of Yazidi refugees. A team of British SAS was already in the area.[188]

On 3 September, an increase of 350 servicemen was announced to be sent to Baghdad, increasing U.S. forces in Baghdad to 820, and increasing U.S. forces in Iraq to 1,213.[189]

On 10 September, President Obama gave a speech in which he reiterated that American troops will not fight in combat. He also said that about 500 more troops will be sent to Iraq to help train Iraqi forces.[190] End of September, Obama planned to send 1,600 troops to Iraq as “advisers” to the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces. 800 of them would provide security for soldiers and Marines and for property; hundreds would train and advise Iraqi and Kurdish forces how to fight ISIS.[138]

In early November 2014, President Obama announced that he would be doubling the number of US troops present on the ground in Iraq to around 3,000 men.[41]

"Nameless" intervention

Unlike previous U.S. combat operations, no name had been given to the 2014 intervention operation in Iraq by the U.S. government, until mid-October.[191] The fact that the operation was still nameless drew considerable media criticism.[192][193][194][195][196] U.S. Servicemen remained ineligible for Campaign Medals and other service decorations due to the continuing ambiguous nature of the continued U.S. involvement in Iraq.[197] On October 15, 2014, two months after the first airstrikes by the USA, the operation was named Inherent Resolve.[198]

Technicalities

Types of aircraft used

In the first U.S. airstrikes on 8 August, armed drones as well as fixed wing aircraft: Super Hornets from Carrier Air Wing 8, of Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia.[200]

Air bases and aircraft carriers

The following is a list of publicly disclosed air bases that have been used for the interventions in Iraq and Syria. It is likely that there are other, yet undisclosed air bases being used. Turkey has refused to allow using Incirlik Air Base for airstrikes against ISIL.[201][202]

Strategics

Kurdish and Iraqi forces battling Islamic State fighters have been closely cooperating with U.S. air force controllers based in Baghdad and in Erbil, suggesting ISIL targets to those U.S. air force controllers. The US controllers then checked those suggestions with live stream video information (ISR), to avoid hitting Iraqi or Kurdish forces with their airstrikes.[208]

Reaction

The initial decision to intervene in Iraq was met with bipartisan support[209] in the United States Congress, albeit subject to a range of interpretations as to what constitutes legitimate intervention. Barbara Lee supported a strictly humanitarian intervention and opposed any mission creep[209][210][211] as did Richard Blumenthal who argued for humanitarian relief, but opposed a prolonged direct military involvement.[209][210][211] Bob Corker expected greater clarity with regards to the intervention's objectives, time frame and source of authorization.[209] while Dick Durbin opined that he, "still had concerns" despite assurances from Obama that no U.S. ground troops would be deployed in Iraq.[211] Congressional Democrats and Republicans who were more hawkish for their support for the intervention included the Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin,[211] Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,[211] chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein[210][211] and current Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner.[209][211]

Despite the bipartisan support, the President's decision to re-engage the United States into a conflict in Iraq has attracted criticism from both the political left and right. Andrew Bacevich argued against military action, but not humanitarian assistance [212] as did Seumas Milne who argued against military, but not humanitarian intervention.[213] On the contrary, Cal Thomas accused Obama's decision to withhold American military assistance barring efforts by the Iraqi government to bridge the country's sectarian differences as tantamount to abandonment while an article in the Globe and Mail cautioned that an American intervention "would kill both ISIS and MCIR fighters as well as many Sunni civilians and fail to fix the underlying issues." [214]An article by the Associated Press wrote that critics of Obama drew a direct connection between his foreign policy approach that underestimated ISIS and his decision to withdraw all American troops from Iraq in late 2011.[215]

Mirroring the bipartisan congressional support for the interventions, polls, notwithstanding varying qualifications, show majorities of Americans supporting air strike in Iraq.[216][217][218][219]

The editorial boards of The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal penned editorials that were supportive of the intervention. Two editorials by The Washington Post argued that Iraqi's disintegration would threaten national, regional and global security[220] and described efforts by the Obama administration to create a more inclusive Iraq government as presenting the best hope for the country in its fight against ISIS.[220][221] Two editorials written in August by the New York Times also supported the intervention, praising Obama's sagacity in delivering the necessary humanitarian assistance to the Christians, Yazidis and other minorities on Mount Sinjar while eschewing the redeployment of American ground troops,[222] and the subsequent deployment of American military airstrikes and other forms of assistance as, although insufficient, a necessary component of a more comprehensive strategy to defeating ISIS.[223] An editorial by the Guardian written in June opined that ISIS's June 2014 Iraqi offensive invited foreign intervention that included the United States and that Obama's conditionalization of aid on Iraqis working together was in the best interest of all of Iraq's regions.[224] Similarly, an editorial in the Wall Street Journal written in August wrote of the strategic interest the United States had in defeating ISIS and positively assessed the efficacy of American airstrikes in, "...reducing the jihadists' room for maneuver and giving new confidence to the Kurdish forces."[225] While condemning ISIS's savagery and acknowledging the threat to American national interests in the Middle East that the group posed, an editorial by the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times argued that congressional authorization should override Obama's legal authority as the ultimate legal basis for the usage of military force in Iraq.[226]

However, support for the intervention in the media was not unanimous. A Washington Post editorial criticized the American strategy of creating a unity government in order to fight ISIS was a mirage due to the country's political-religious cleavages and ISIS's numerical and technological superiority.[227] William Hartung, writing in Stars and Stripes argued that the intervention would result in mission creep.[228]

In an article for the BBC, Marc Weller, professor of international law at Cambridge University, argues that the US airstrikes are consistent with international law. Specifically, he argues that: the government in Baghdad invited international forces to join in the fight against IS; the newly reconstituted and religiously representative Iraqi government has a positive obligation to deliver on its constitutional promises and defend its population from subjugation by ISIS; and foreign intervention exercising the right of collective self-defense on behalf of Iraq can involve forcible action in IS-controlled territories in Syria that is proportional to the necessity of securing Iraq's borders.[229] Similarly, Michael Ignatieff, professor of politics at Harvard University discussed the international dimensions of American intervention in Iraq in an interview with Der Spiegel in which he described the Islamic State as an "attack on all values of civilization" and that it was essential America, "continued with their air strikes."[230]

Ramzi Mardini in The New York Times wrote an op-ed opposing armed intervention as it exacerbated the blowback risk of terrorism against US although he did not object to humanitarian assistance aimed at helping the persecuted religious minorities living in ISIS controlled territories and instead called for greater diplomatic intervention in which the United States played a key role as an arbiter between Iraq's warring sectarian factions.[231] On the other hand, Aaron Zelin of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy argues that ISIS are "likely planning attacks whether the U.S. conducts targeted air strikes or not" and that, in his opinion, the United States, "should destroy them as soon as possible."[232] Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and members of the Republican party including John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, and John Boehner have likewise called for greater military strikes in the region to contain the Islamic State.[233]

In an interview with the Atlantic, Hillary Clinton suggested that the current crisis in Iraq was a result of his refusal to arm Syrian rebels, which Obama, in a meeting with lawmakers before Clinton’s interview, criticized as "horseshit."[234]

An editorial in Vox defined the intervention as being limited to Kurdistan, effectively allowing the Islamic State to control a large part of Iraq absent any other occupying power. The editorial argued that the stability of Kurdistan would make it a better ally for the US.[235]

See also

References

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  4. ^ Battling Dutch, Belgium prepare to send forces, MSN .
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  6. ^ "Denmark, Isis", The Huffington Post, Sep 9, 2014 .
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