THE 5 MUSLIM NATIONS OF Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Qatar participated in the strikes, the first four carrying out what is being called “kinetic action”, dropping bombs.
AT LEAST 120 ISIS AND AL QAEDA MEMBERS WERE KILLED.
(READ ARTICLE at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/iraqonthebrink/us-eliminated-al-qaeda-plotters-in-syria-pentagon/article1-1267599.aspx#sthash.qVMaANPG.dpuf)
The new coalition’s makeup is significant because the United States was able to recruit Sunni governments to take action against the Sunni militants of the Islamic State. The operation also unites the squabbling states of the Persian Gulf.
In Monday night attacks, the US-led coalition conducted 14 strikes against ISIS targets in and around Ar Raqqah, Dayr az Zawr, Al Hasakah, and Abu Kamal in Syria.
The US used “47 TLAMs (Tomahawks) launched from USS Arleigh Burke and USS Philippine Sea operating from international waters in the Red Sea and North Arabian Gulf, as well as US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps fighter, remotely piloted and bomber aircraft deployed to the US Central Command area of operations”.
Th strikes were conducted in three waves. The first wave, starting at 8:30 pm US eastern (6:00 am in India), targeted Khorasan group facilities west of the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Going alone in a separate action, the US struck al Qaeda operatives, also in Syria, to foil an “imminent attack” they were planning against Americans and Western interests.
The new air campaign in Syria has drawn mixed reaction across the Middle East, a region where many people hate the brutality of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, but are also deeply skeptical of the motives behind any type of foreign intervention.
Looming over the new campaign are memories of recent American-led interventions in Libya and Iraq, which many Arabs welcomed at first but later turned against, because of the waves of instability and civil war that followed.
Instead of putting American troops on the ground, the United States will support local forces in Syria and Iraq.
Regime change has never been mentioned as a goal, and the participation of Arab states has been regarded as crucial, to deflect any criticism that the United States was going to war against Muslims.
Some of the Arab participants, especially Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have been heavily involved in Syria’s civil war for years, so joining the international coalition is merely a new, more direct form of intervention for them. Saudi Arabia, along with others like Jordan and Bahrain, worries that their citizens who have gone to join the Islamic State forces will later return and plot attacks at home. And the United Arab Emirates has supported efforts to combat a range of Islamist movements across the region.
“This is the right way to do it, if you want to defeat the Islamic State, because you cannot cut off the tail and leave the head,” said Ebtesam Al Ketbi, the chairwoman of the Emirates Policy Center. “And everyone is participating, so no one can accuse the United States alone.”
Others support the fight against the Islamic State because they see the group as spreading an abhorrent interpretation of Islam.
“They are a minority of extremists who have nothing to do with the rest of the world’s Muslims,” said Issa Alghaith, a member of Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council.
In Baghdad, the city with perhaps the most experience of American-led airstrikes, many people lauded the bombing of Raqqa, the extremists’ de facto capital in Syria, and faulted the air campaign only for not happening sooner.
“The American reaction to the situation in Iraq is late,” said Kadhem el-Maqdadi, an Iraqi journalist and commentator. The United States agreed to help Iraq if it was under attack, he noted, “but their help came after the ISIS virus had spread throughout Iraq.”
He said that the airstrikes alone would not defeat the militants. “Wars are fought mainly on the ground, and air support can help, but they can’t fix the problem,” he said.
Elsewhere in the region, there was a familiar current of cynicism about motives behind the American-led strikes. In a column on Tuesday in Al Ahram, a state-run newspaper in Egypt, Massoud al-Hennawi wrote that Washington and its allies were using because “they want to divide our lands, destroy our nations, occupy our homelands, and monopolize our choices, without shedding one drop of their blue blood.”
“They have no problem that our cheap Arab blood flows in rivers, if it achieves their goals and purposes,” he continued.
The government of Egypt, however, favors the air campaign, and the state newspaper’s website omitted the column once the strikes in Syria had taken place.
The airstrikes shook the city of Raqqa before dawn, rattling windows and knocking out electricity. Many Islamic State fighters left the city, fearing further strikes. Others collected pieces of an aerial vehicle that crashed into a broadcast tower and fell to pieces on the pavement, according to photos posted online.
The Syrian government appeared unruffled by the strikes, probably because it was glad to see military power brought to bear against forces that had recently killed many of its soldiers. After insisting for weeks that any airstrikes on its territory that were not coordinated with government forces would be considered an act of “aggression,” Syrian officials claimed on Tuesday that its ambassador to the United Nations and its foreign minister had been informed of the strikes ahead of time.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry also said in a statement that the government supports “any international effort to fight terrorism,” but that it must be done in a way that protects civilian lives.
That response stood in contrast to those of Syria’s international allies, which were critical of the air campaign. Iran, which has backed Mr. Assad financially and militarily throughout the conflict, complained that his government had been bypassed.
The Iranian deputy foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, called the campaign a “Hollywood adventure" that would not stop terrorism in Syria.
Echoing earlier remarks by Iran’s highest leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mr. Amir Abdollahian accused the United States of trying to regain a military foothold in the Middle East by fighting a group that Iran has accused the United States of creating.
President Hassan Rouhani, in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly, said the airstrikes in Syria violated international law and would accomplish little.
In addition to Islamic State sites, the United States struck bases belonging to the Nusra Front, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, drawing condemnation from the group’s members and supporters. “Crusader airplanes strike the Nusra Front,” wrote Sami al-Oreidi, a cleric with the group in southern Syria. Eyad al-Qunaibi, a Jordanian preacher who supports the group, said its members should be considered martyrs.
Many ordinary Syrians said they were happy to see the Islamic State’s grip weakened by the airstrikes, though they were concerned that government troops might use the airstrikes as an opportunity to advance.
In the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, which the Islamic State had almost entirely taken over, Anwar Abu Omran said that many residents there were pleased with the news.
“People in Deir al-Zour are very happy, and they are trying so hard to hide their smiles from the Islamic State members, because they hate them more than they hate the regime,” he said.
Syrians who support the government said that they, too, were happy to see the group hit, but were worried about the ultimate goals of the American and Arab coalition.
“I don’t trust the coalition,” said Jamal, a local official who lives in a Shiite village in Idlib Province. “They might take advantage of the situation and hit important locations, like the airport where the regime is, and I am afraid of errors.”
170,000 + NOW REPORTED TO HAVE FLED FROM NORTHERN SYRIA INTO TURKEY IN FACE OF ISLAMIC STATE ADVANCE NEAR KOBANE:
TIMELINE – 22nd SEPTEMBER 2014 13.08 GMT – UPDATED 17.15 GMT:
Latest reports from Kobane (Ayn Al-Arab) in the northern part of Aleppo province in Syria suggest that the Islamic State (IS) has taken control of as many as 130, mostly abandoned, villages and that 170,000 people, predominately Kurds, have fled across the Turkish border in the last 4 days.
The Kurdish militia, the YPG, is claiming that they have “halted” the IS advance to the eastern side of Kobane city as of last night, the scene of some of the fiercest fighting since last Tuesday.
A map, courtesy of @deSyracuse, shows the situation around Kobane, though the area held by the Kurds has almost certainly shrunk since it was published on Friday. The LARGER map also illustrates how quickly the Islamic State has advanced...view large map here:
WHILE THE ISLAMIC STATE IS STILL INTENT ON KILLING THE HEADS OF MOST CURRENT ARABIC/MUSLIM NATIONS, ACCORDING TO THEIR TWEETS, BLOGS, AND NEWS RELEASES, NO ARAB NATION INVOLVED IN BOMBING THEM INTO OBLIVION WILL YET SAY THEY WILL SEND COMBAT TROOPS AGAINST ISIS.
MAYBE ALL THOSE BEHEADINGS AND CRUCIFIXIONS ISIS HAS CARRIED OUT HAS THEM AFRAID OF WHAT MAY BEFALL THEM IF THEY DO?