Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ISIS Threatens to Drown Americans in Blood

Reuters reports that the Islamic State has released a video threatening the United States, including a message that they will "drown all of you in blood." Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports:
Islamic State fighters were on the run in northern Iraq on Sunday after Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed by U.S. airstrikes, closed in on a strategically vital dam in the most significant attempt yet to reverse the militants’ blitz through Iraq. 
Iraqi and Kurdish commanders claimed to be making swift progress, slicing through a series of villages and then reaching the dam after a wave of U.S. attacks in which fighter jets, drones and bombers pummeled the extremists’ positions.
(Update): David P. Goldman remarks that it is ISIS's susceptibility to aerial observation and attack that makes ISIS vulnerable. He writes:
ISIS by itself is overrated. It is a horde enhanced by captured heavy weapons, but cannot fly warplanes in a region where close air support is the decisive factor in battle. The fighters of the Caliphate cannot hide under the jungle canopy like the North Vietnamese. They occupy terrain where aerial reconnaissance can identify every stray cat. The Saudi and Jordanian air forces are quite capable of defending their borders. Saudi Arabia has over 300 F-15′s and 72 Typhoons, and more than 80 Apache attack helicopters. Jordan has 60 F16′s as well as 25 Cobra attack helicopters. The putative Caliphate can be contained; it cannot break out into Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and it cannot advance far into the core Shia territory of Iraq. It can operate freely in Syria, in a war of attrition with the Iranian backed government army. The grim task of regional security policy is to channel the butchery into areas that do not threaten oil production or transport. 
Ultimately, ISIS is a distraction. The problem is Iran. ...

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