Reports are coming in that the United States is assisting the Iraqi people by launching air strikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) forces close to the Mosul dam and the city of Erbil, the Kurdish capital. This comes after a week filled with strikes from armed UAV drones and U.S. jets aimed at ISIS forces around the areas of Mount Sinjar and Erbil and a strike yesterday near Mosul in an attempt to assist Kurdish forces in retaking the region.
This was the largest deployment of U.S. Air Force, Navy fighters and drones since this action started on August 8. The strikes were deemed necessary with ISIS in control of the dam. The fear was that the Sunni Islamists would either cut off cities electricity and water supplies or potentially flood nearby cities. Controlling the dam is only part of the ISIS takeover attempt, as the group is also in control of several gas and oil fields in Syria and parts of Iraq. These gas and oil fields are providing ISIS with millions of dollars of revenue each day, funding the groups control on the seized areas.
According to U.S. Central Command, seven armed vehicles, four armored personnel carriers and a number of other ISIS vehicles have been damaged or destroys after nine air strikes. The air strikes were intended to protect U.S. interests in the area, both personnel and buildings, assist Kurdish forces and to assist with humanitarian efforts in the region.
According to the head of Mosul’s National Reconciliation Committee, Zuhair al-Chalabi, the towns that are near the area of the Mosul dam need to be retaken prior to make any attempt to force ISIS away from the dam. With the assist of U.S. air strikes, the Peshmerga military is preparing to begin moving into position to launch an offensive to retake the dam. If ISIS would open up the dam or blow it, Iraqi environmental adviser Aziz Alwash stated that the city of Mosul would be under water within four hours and that the near 30 billion cubic meters of water would inundate numerous cities along the road to Baghdad.
Earlier in the week, the U.S. sent Special Forces to Iraq to assess and assist with humanitarian efforts. However, United States President Barak Obama is not ready to put any boots on the ground for military action directly against ISIS. Earlier in the week, U.S. forces did have boots on the ground to assess the needs of Iraqi’s who had taken refuge on top of Mount Sinjar and if evacuations were needed. It was determined that the threat that pushed the people atop Sinjar is no longer there and the need for the U.S. to work on an evacuation plan or continue air drops of food, water or any other supplies has passed.
Along with some European nations, the United States is providing military assistance to the Kurdish forces in their battle with ISIS by arming them. France was the first to align with the U.S. in arming the forces for the fight against the al-Qaeda splinter group, which have been called just a terrorist gang that is trying to take over Iraq and its people through violence and fear tactics.
With most of Iraqi’s regular Army in a state of disarray, the Kurdish forces appear to be Iraq’s best option, along with assistance from Western nations including United States air strikes, to stop ISIS. The people of Iraq in desperate need to stop these terrorists who have expanded their control in the country while facing little to no resistance.
By Carl Auer