WASHINGTON — President Obama wasted no time yesterday authoring surveillance flights over Syria. Military experts are downplaying what may be the first stage leading to boots on the ground.
Mr. Obama, fresh from a two-week vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, gave the Pentagon a green light to begin sending manned and unmanned reconnaissance flights over Syria without permission from President Bashar al-Assad.
As Iraqi forces with U.S. air support fight ISIS in northern Iraq, America will unilaterally identify potential targets at the heart of Sunni extremists straddling the border between Syria and Iraq. Surveillance will be made from aircraft most likely from carriers stationed in the Persian Gulf.
Considering President Obama has repeatedly called for the ouster of President Assad, America’s intervention into Syria’s three-year civil war would only strengthen the Assad regime as it struggles to hold onto power. Critics like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will likely berate Obama for not getting involved sooner; both fail to admit, like getting rid of Saddam Hussein, decapitating Bashar al-Assad will create a void that could be filled by ISIL, the unifying force behind ISIS and other jihadists dreaming of a new caliphate in the Levant.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey late last week presaged yesterday’s announcement when asked about ISIS, “They will have to be addressed on both sides of what is at this point a non-existent border,” Dempsey said during a Pentagon news conference. “That will come when we have a coalition that takes on the task of defeating ISIS over time.”
General Dempsey continued his assessment and our intended goals:
“It requires a variety of instruments -- one of which is airstrikes,” he said. “I’m not predicting those will occur in Syria -- at least not by the United States of America. But it requires the application of all the tools of national power, diplomatic, economic, information, military.”
So far our allies have been silent in offering assistance in what is becoming an imminent threat to European nations. Their reticence may have to do with many of them having large Muslim populations with suspected terrorist cells on their soils.
America will soon know whether President Obama will have to renege on his campaign promise to bring all troops home. Doing so may foster positive outcomes for Democrats during midterms this fall, something Republicans may have to reconsider as they rattle their sabers for Obama “to lead” this country into another war.