As the non-war war on ISIS/ISIL/IS/Wizard of OZ is getting warmed up, things are happening just as critics of the Obama Administration have predicted.
The bombing runs carried out by the “coalition” — mostly the U.S. — have made some spectacular fireballs in the desert but appear to have done little to slow down the purported enemy.
Since bombing started, ISIS has advanced toward Turkey, secured its hold on larger chunks of the Syrian border and moved within spitting range of Baghdad.
ISIS has reportedly seized about half of Kobane, a Kurdish town near the Syria-Turkey border, despite Kurdish efforts to defend it. Our forces have bombed the area, but with little apparent effect.
Where the U.S. has focused some of its bombing is near the Haditha Dam, which is attacked on an almost daily basis by ISIS troops. So far, they’ve been held at bay, but the dam controls most of the water supply in Iraq, and its loss would put remaining Iraqi towns at danger of having their water cut off. A dam in Mosul is similarly being fought over.
ISIS briefly had control of the Mosul Dam in August, but a major effort by Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed by the U.S., took it back. At the time, President Obama said that letting ISIS control the dam would have threatened the water supply to the embassy in Baghdad.
Still in question is Obama’s commitment to defeating ISIS. His strategy is a losing one, and obviously so, because he has no plans for putting troops on the ground to retake and hold territory against ISIS.
There’s also the elephant in the war room — this president funded and armed elements of the Syrian rebellion that became ISIS.
Rosie O’Donnell is back on the airwaves saying that the U.S. created ISIS, so everybody is at pains to say it’s not true. Unfortunately, that statement is at least partially correct. The U.S. did not create ISIS in the way O’Donnell says — by fighting the Iraq War, it’s all Bush’s fault, etc.
However, Obama did for years agitate the civil war in Syria to try to get rid of Bashar al-Assad. He did so by smuggling arms and al-Qaida-linked mercenaries from Libya, through Turkey and into Syria. This smuggling operation seems to have been connected to the events in Benghazi, though key details are still hidden from the public.
The mercenaries came to dominate the Syrian rebellion, and this in turn became the core of ISIS. Obama’s current battle plan barely scratches the capabilities of ISIS, while openly funding (thank you, Congress) and arming more Syrian “rebels,” which will only shore up ISIS’ northern and western boundaries inside Syria.
So far, ISIS’ efforts to control Iraqi resources have had mixed success. While the Iraqi government has been forced to truck water into some small towns, an ISIS effort to cut off water to a Shiite town in April backfired when the dam caused a neighboring Sunni area to flood, sweeping away cattle and sending 40,000 people scrambling for makeshift rafts or shelter on surrounding hills.
However, more recently in the Diyala province, ISIS has been able to divert water to flood areas and slow or prevent progress by Iraqi forces. Flooding out residents in the process. More and more, water is becoming a weapon for ISIS.
For now, it seems that the only thing standing between ISIS and a secure resource power base is the weak battle plan of a weak-willed president.