The Effectiveness of Air Power against the Islamic State: Operation Inherent Resolve

The Effectiveness of Air Power against the Islamic State: Operation Inherent Resolve

Inherent_Resolve

The World

Introduction

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015, US Central Command (CENTCOM)’s Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF), accelerated airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh), with the United States Air Force and Navy leading a broad NATO and non-NATO country coalition in a vast air and ground campaign against ISIS. The complex nature of the coalition’s Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) has increased dramatically in recent months. Operation Inherent Resolve is stated to have officially commenced on 8 August 2014. The 16 month long campaign to degrade and destroy the Islamic State accelerated at the end of October 2015 when the USAF began targeting ISIL’s oil reserves and refineries: the black market oil controlled by ISIS is worth $40 million USD a month.[i] A topic of significant political controversy: how successful has the coalition’s strategic air campaign been?

Iraq

Theatre of Coalition operations, the Middle East.[ii]

Background, Building the Coalition

2013 had been a violent year for Iraq, with 8,868 Iraqis killed in terrorism related violence according to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq.[iii] By June of 2014 ISIL forces had secured Mosul, looting Iraq’s central bank to the tune of $429 million, and were preparing to move against Baghdad.[iv] Syria’s Air Force commenced bombing operations against ISIL in Iraq on 24 June, and Iraq’s Air Force moved to purchase Sukhoi Su-25 fighters from Russia and Belarus, to bolster its air support capabilities following delays in the delivery of 36 F-16s from the USAF.[v] On 28 June 2014, US President Barack Obama requested $500 million from Congress to fund a training and advisory mission in Syria, and by this point there were 180 US military advisors deployed in Iraq.[vi] On 29 June 2014 ISIS proclaimed a caliphate, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as caliph.[vii] Between 3 and 17 July, ISIL captured Syria’s al-Omar and Shaer oil and gas fields.[viii]

MapMay

Institute for the Study of War, ISIS situation map, June 2014.[ix]

ISISbattleAugust 8th, Operation Inherent Resolve commences.[x]

Operations commenced early on 8 August 2014, when two US Navy F/A-18s, in support of Kurdish forces, dropped a pair of 500 lb laser guided bombs (LGBs) on a “mobile artillery piece” near Erbil.[xi] Attacks continued into the morning of the 8th, with a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) destroyed an ISIL mortar that was being used to attack “U.S. personnel” involving in “assisting the Government of Iraq.”

LGB

US Navy F/A-18 strike against ISIL artillery.[xii] 500 lb LGB circled.

This airstrike was followed by another US Navy F/A-18 strike, involving four aircraft, against an ISIL convoy and mortar position, at 11:20 am, in which 8 LGBs were dropped.[xiii] The United Kingdom’s Michael Fallon, Defence Secretary, announced plans to support the US led efforts with humanitarian airdrops, and speculation followed that the UK would soon join in a military coalition with the United States.[xiv]

Shortly after these strikes, President Barack Obama issued a statement (at 9:30 pm EST – August 7th – at the White House), acknowledging that the situation at Erbil, where the US consulate is located, had become critical.[xv] The President described the impending massacre of Yezidi “women, men and children” stranded on Mount Sinjar, as justification for the strikes, and emphasized the low footprint of the “several hundred American advisors” then deployed to Iraq. The President followed up this announcement on August 11th, reiterating his commitment to supporting Iraq’s government with military and humanitarian assistance.[xvi] By August 10th France announced plans to join the coalition in providing arms to Kurdish Peshmerga forces.[xvii]

Meanwhile, on 9 August, US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, spoke in a telephone conference with the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, regarding military coordination for Iraq.[xviii]

p080714ps-0095

US President Barack Obama met with his National Security Team in the White House Situation Room on 7 August, 2014.[xix]

On August 21st, the US acknowledged that it had carried out a raid to rescue hostages held at Raqqa, including reporters James Foley and Steven Sotloff two months prior, on 3 July. The Delta Force and 160 SOAR mission failed due to the hostages having been moved before the strike took place.[xx] On August 30th the United States Air Force (USAF) conducted a combined humanitarian airdrop and combat mission with support from Australian, French and UK aircraft at Amirli, where ISIL forces had besieged thousands of Shia Turkomens. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) played an important role in the humanitarian component of this mission. [xxi]

hagel and Dempsey

US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey photographed at the Pentagon on 21 August 2014.[xxii]

On 5 September 2014 US Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel released a statement explaining the conclusions reached at the NATO Summit meeting held to discuss security challenges, including ISIL. The joint statement expressed the Alliance’s commitment to begin systematically degrading ISIL, militarily, ideologically, financially and politically, and established the groundwork for the development of an international coalition to affect this mission.[xxiii]

Airstrikes were carried out on 7 September under CENTCOM authority to counter ISIL forces threatening the Haditha Dam in Iraq’s Anbar province, and on 10 September President Obama approved plans to deliver $25 million in “military assistance” to the Iraqi and Kurdish governments.[xxiv] On 14 September, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott committed 400 Australian Air Force personnel and 200 troops plus “up to eight Super Hornet aircraft” to fight ISIS.[xxv] Abbott stressed that these forces formed part of a broad coalition, including the US, UK, France, Canada, Jordan, Bahrain and UAE. Airstrikes by France took place on 19 September. Belgian involvement was authorized for a month long trial period with F-16s operating out of Jordanian airfields, and Denmark also deployed seven aircraft and 250 personnel.[xxvi] Shortly thereafter, British Prime Minister David Cameron implored parliament to approve airstrikes which passed the house by a 524-43 vote.[xxvii]

18_nato_14

NATO Summit meeting at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales, 4 September 2014.[xxviii]

US President Obama addressed the media at 10:11 am on 23 September from the White House south lawn to announce that the US had conducted strikes against ISIL targets in Syria. Raqqa, the proclaimed Syrian capital of ISIS, had been hit with Tomahawk cruise missiles, and airstrikes were flown by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar.[xxix]

fighter-jets-us

F-15E aircraft conduct strikes on the 23rd of September.[xxx]

President Obama stated that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, and Qatar had joined with the US led coalition of “over 40 nations [that] have offered to help” in carrying out this mission. The President also stated that airstrikes had been carried out against al Qaeda operatives in Syria known as the Khorasan Group. Obama stressed his close consultation with Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi in building the coalition to fight ISIL.[xxxi] The strikes continued through 24, 25 and 26 September. On 30 September RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft dropped Paveway IV bombs on heavy weapons positions and a technical in Northern Iraq.[xxxii]

Technical targeted by RAF aircraft, 30 September 2014.

tornado

RAF Tornados flew missions on 30 September from bases in Cyprus.[xxxiii]

Canada now joined the coalition on October 2nd, its commitment closely mirroring Australian deployments, in this case, CF-18 fighters, refueling aircraft and surveillance assets.[xxxiv] On 14 October, ISIS forces captured Hit, and on 24 October the ISF (Iraq Security Forces) launched Operation Ashura to recapture Jurf al-Sakhar, backed by 22 US strikes.[xxxv]

iraq-security

Iraq’s Special Operations Forces (ISOF) deploy for a patrol to Jurf al-Sakhar, south of Baghdad.[xxxvi]

us-airstrikes-isis

Turkish Kurds near the Mursitpinar border crossing watch coalition strikes on Kobani.

us-airstrikes-isis (1).jpg

Heavy airstrikes occurred against ISIL forcing controlling the town of Kobani on October 14th, 2014.[xxxvii]

For ten days CENTCOM hosted an anti-ISIL strategy conference, from November 12th to the 21st (22nd) at the MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. Representatives from 33 nations attended, with almost 200 “coalition participants” taking part. Planning was led by Brigadier General Gary C. Deankin, British Army, and Deputy Director of US Central Command Strategy, Plans and Policy division. According to General Lloyd J. Austin III, CENTCOM commander, the focus of the conference was on developing plans to support Iraq’s security forces.[xxxviii]

On 23 November the ISF defended against ISIS attacks on Ramadi.[xxxix] By 30 November KSF (Kurdish Security Forces), Peshmerga fighters, had recaptured villages in the Gweir and Makhmour area, 28 miles south of Erbil.[xl] Between December 17 and 27 the KSF launched an operation to break the siege of Mount Sinjar.[xli] On 19 December Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby announced that coalition airstrikes had killed Haji Mutazz, one of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s chief deputies, amongst others, including Abd al Basit, ISIL’s chief of military operations in Iraq, and Radwin Talib, ISIL’s military governor for Mosul.[xlii]

terry

CJTF-OIR commander Lieutenant General James L. Terry announces the high profile airstrikes in December 2014.[xliii]

By 9 February 2015 the coalition had conducted over 2,000 airstrikes against ISIL. A multinational conference was held February 3rd and 4th to discuss strategic planning, with Colonel Ryan Jurykowski, CJTF-OIR deputy chief of plans, and Lieutenant General James L. Terry, commander CJTF-OIR in attendance.[xliv] By this point in the war the Task Force had established a twitter page (@CJTFOIR).[xlv] Also on the 9th, airstrikes were carried out near Mosul, with Kurdish Peshmerga forces capturing three bridgeheads over of the Tigris River. These operations, taking place between 6 and 8 February, involved four Close Air Support (CAS) strikes, as well as Coalition Advise and Assist (A2) ground teams. Lt. General James Terry called the operation an example of “how Daesh can be defeated” through the Coalition’s Aviation and Advise and Assist (A3) strategy.[xlvi] Meanwhile, on February 13th, the ISF, supported by coalition surveillance troops, stopped an ISIL attack against the Al Asad Air Base in Anbar province, killing the eight attackers. 800 ISF personnel were receiving training at the Al Asad base.[xlvii]

Between 22 February and the first week of March, 26 airstrikes were carried out in support of ISF and Tribal Fighters (TF) actions against ISIL positions around Al Baghdadi, securing three bridges over the Euphrates River. Further gains were made along the road to Hadithah.[xlviii] On March 9th the Kurds captured an important ridgeline west of Kirkuk as part of an operation to secure the Kirkuk oilfields. CJTF-OIR airstrikes destroyed “ten enemy fighting positions, five tactical units and ten ISIL weapons systems” in support of this operation.[xlix] Videos from the strikes carried out March 9 – 13 at Mosul, Fallujah, and Kirkuk, were posted to CENTCOM’s youtube page (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNEEHeS9Y2yFVLbWGeHhbYA).[l]

During March 24th and 25th, coalition aircraft conducted strike and surveillance missions in support of ISF forces engaged in liberating Tikrit.[li] Iranian military officials assisted in the massive 30,000 ISF strong Tikrit operation. Air support was carried out by Iraq’s Air Force.

tikrit

ISF offensive at Tikrit.[lii]

Video from some of these strikes was released the following day, with more footage to follow on the 31st.[liii] Attacks and counterattacks took place at Kisik, Kirkuk, Bayji and Habbaniyah, in the shape of Vehicle IEDs (VIED), and a dozen suicide bomb attacks. The coalition’s forces continued their “ongoing advise and assist operations, airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR.”[liv] By March 30th, the coalition had 1,500 troops in theatre, involved in training 4,800 ISF soldiers, the majority of that buildup commencing in the first week of March.

Training

Cavalry trooper from the 82nd Airborne Division training soldiers from Iraq’s 15th Division.[lv] Training video was released on April 6th.[lvi] In Syria, Major General Michael Nagata led the training effort.[lvii] https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgv7fFrpktGrcJtanYifRYw

april2015

The Islamic State as of April 2015.[lviii]

Between April 1st and 9th the coalition conducted 47 airstrikes in support of an ISF battle at the Bayji Oil Refinery.[lix] A large operation held in Kirkuk was announced on 19 April in which 11 villages were re-captured from ISIL with the assistance of coalition air support.[lx] A major coalition conference was held April 27th to May 1st at MacDill Air Force Base, with representatives from 39 nations attending.[lxi] Videos of airstrikes at Kobani and Al Asad (19-20 April) in Syria were released on 27 April.[lxii] A further video of an airstrike against ISIL positions near Mosul that occurred on May 4th were released on 13 May.[lxiii] On May 16th US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter issued a statement indicating that ISIL commander Abu Sayyaf had been killed in a US SOCCOM (Delta Force) raid, and his wife, Umm Sayyaf, was captured.[lxiv]

            On May 7th CENTCOM announced that it had begun training “vetted” Syrian opposition fighters with the support of the now 60 nation strong “Global Coalition to Counter ISIL”.[lxv] Between May 19th and the 22nd the ISF conducted an attack in preparation for seizing the contested Bayji Oil Refinery, in a battle involving IEDs, suicide VIEDs, and heavy weapon and rocket fire. Chief of staff of CJTF-OIR at this point was Brigadier General Thomas Weidley.[lxvi] Lt. General James Terry, CJTF-OIR commander, was displeased with ISIL gains in Ramadi.[lxvii] During that same period another conference was held (May 19-20), with representatives from 21 nations in attendance. By this point in the conflict the coalition had conducted over 4,100 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.[lxviii] On June 10th 2015 the Pentagon announced that it had been authorized to deploy another 450 US “non-combat” personnel to Taqaddum Air Base. US personnel now numbered 3,550.[lxix] On June 26th CENTCOM commander General Lloyd J. Austin gave his condolences to the family of Iraqi Brigadier General Rais Mohammed Sadiq who was killed in a training accident while operating with the USAF in Arizona.[lxx]

            On July 4th the coalition conducted 16 interdiction airstrikes against ar-Raqqah, the ISIS capital in Syria.[lxxi] CJTF-OIR’s new chief of staff, Brigadier General Kevil Killea, announced that between August 26th and 28th the coalition had conducted airstrikes (“13 deliberate and 12 dynamic”) over three days to support Peshmerga operations east of Tuz, northern Iraq.[lxxii] Declassified video of a strike targeting a VEID was posted the same day.[lxxiii]

mapseptember

ISW ISIS situation map, September 2015.[lxxiv]

Iraq’s Air Force now received delivery of the much delayed F-16s, the first strikes by the new fighters was carried out on 6 September. The first four F-16 aircraft had been purchased in July.[lxxv]

On 8 September a stadium in Ramadi was bombed: the arena was being used to marshal ISIL fighters.[lxxvi] On 21 September CENTCOM announced that the training mission for Syria had produced 70 graduates, shortly dispatched to join the New Syrian Forces. On the 23rd, airstrikes destroyed two VIED factories near Mosul.[lxxvii] Video was posted simultaneously.[lxxviii]

sept23

Airstrikes pummel ISIL controlled buildings as part of coalition operations near Al Huwayjah, September 23, 2015[lxxix]

50 airstrikes were carried out in support of a KSF operation to clear ISIL positions in the villages west of Kirkuk, starting on 30 September.[lxxx]

NATO Defense Ministers met in Brussels on 8 October to discuss the ISIL mission, and there were questions about Russian involvement, considering that Russian aircraft had violated Turkish airspace on recent occasions.[lxxxi] As of 8 October US Defense Department figures provided by Central Command (CENTCOM), indicate that 13,781 targets have been destroyed, include 126 tanks, 354 HMMMVs, and 3,930 “fighting positions”, 3,956 buildings, plus 4,622 undisclosed “other targets”.[lxxxii] US Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, at this point approved weapons deliveries to select members of the New Syrian Forces.[lxxxiii]

oil2

On 16 October the coalition bombed the Qayyarah Oil Refinery in Iraq.[lxxxiv] Attacks against the Khorasan Group of al-Qaeda continued with the demise of Saudi national and al-Qaeda commander in Syria, “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” Sanafi al-Nasr (Abdul Mohsen Adballah Ibrahim al Charekh).[lxxxv] A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the US and Russia regarding access to Syrian air space.[lxxxvi] USAF B-1 bombers targeted the Omar oil field in Syria, worth between $2 and 5 million USD a month to the Islamic State. The strike was carried out on 21 October, and destroyed 26 targets.[lxxxvii] On October 22nd KSF and SOCOM teams raided an ISIL prison near Hawijah, Iraq, freeing 70 hostages, and capturing 5 prisoners.[lxxxviii]

prison

The prison was then demolished.[lxxxix] On 23 October, Lt. General Sean B. MacFarland, commander CJTF-OIR, reported that the task force had suffered a casualty, Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, while three of Iraq’s “special operations soldiers” were wounded.[xc] On October 27 Ash Carter met with Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s Defence Minister and the two discussed Israeli and regional security concerns. Israel is expected to acquire F-35 capability in 2016.[xci]

By 31 October 2015 Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) involved between 17,592 and 22,286 sorties flown for 2015, plus between 6,663 and 6,292 sorties for 2014, of which, 8,064 (2015) and 2,040 (2014) sorties involved weapon launches.[xcii] As of 31 October, Operation Inherent Resolve is estimated to have cost $5 billion, with $11 million spent everyday over 450 days of operation.[xciii]

sorties

Total Sorties as of 31 October 2015.[xciv]

costs

Cost breakdown by US DOD as of 9 November 2015.[xcv]

 

Recent Developments

The expansion of ISIS terrorist activity around the globe coincides with the escalation of the Global Coalition’s devastating air campaign. Senior coalition military and political leadership have been clear that their strategy is one of persistence and coalition building, to contrast the “shock and awe” air campaigns carried out against Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya during the decade 2001-2011. Nevertheless, the US remains responsible for the majority of strikes, with Russia and the coalition following suit. The UK has carried out 350 strikes since committing RAF assets in October 2014, and plans to escalate its involvement in Iraq.[xcvi]

russiaoil.jpg

Russia, in particular, has joined with the coalition’s efforts to target ISIS oil revenue, releasing video of strikes carried out against an ISIS oil refinery on 19 November.[xcvii] Over the past week Russia also carried out strikes with Tu-22M3 bombers and launched 12 cruise missiles against Aleppo and Idlib in Syria, followed by raids against Raqqa and Deir-Ez-Zur, announcing that the strikes had destroyed ISIS HQ buildings, bomb factories and three oil refineries.[xcviii]

ISIS escalated the scale and frequency of its terrorist attacks in particular following Russian intervention in the Syrian Civil War.[xcix] Between November 7th and 13th the coalition carried out 30 strikes, destroying 101 ISIL targets,[c] including the killing of 27 year-old British national Mohammed Emwazi, “Jihadi John” the suspected top executioner for ISIS.[ci] In addition, the US targeted Abu Nabil, – Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al Zubaydi – an Iraqi and al Qaeda operative in Libya.[cii] Videos of the strikes from November 8th were uploaded to the CJTF-OIR youtube page on November 14th, detailing the destruction of ISIL petroleum resources (Operation Tidal Wave II).[ciii] Further video was uploaded on 13 November showing coalition airstrikes carried out on 11 November in support of Peshmerga forces fighting at Sinjar.[civ]

sinjar2 

            Securing Sinjar: KSF cuts the communication line between Raqqa and Mosul.[cv]

strikes

CJTF-OIR Twitter graphic showing location and number of airstrikes in Syria and Iraq between 7 and 13 November, 2015.[cvi]

strike6

strike11

strikes4

Frames from declassified CJTF-OIR surveillance video posted to youtube, showing the destruction of ISIL controlled buildings on 11 November near Sinjar, Iraq; Operation Free Sinjar, which had been prepared by a month of air bombardment (involving 250 strikes).[cvii] By November 12th, the US plus the coalition had conducted 8,125 strikes (5,321 in Iraq and 2,804 in Syria). Of these, 6,353 strikes had been conducted by the US (3,695 in Iraq and 2,658 in Syria), the US doing almost all of the heavy lifting in Syria, the rest of the coalition counting for only 146 strikes there, compared to 1,626 in Iraq. By November 14, the Global Coalition had flown 57,301 sorties.[cviii]

 obamaNovember15

President Barack Obama meets with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey on Sunday, 15 November 2015, with National Security Advisor Susan Rice in attendance.[cix]

Ash Carter spoke with France’s Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the two discussed intensifying the campaign.[cx] The the coalition was continuing its bombing mission, conducting 10 strikes in Syria with “attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft.” Another 13 strikes, coordinated with Iraq Security Forces (ISF) including rocket artillery hit ISIL targets, on November 15.

iraq2

ISIS territory as of October 22.[cxi]

situation2015

The political situation on November 15th, grey represents area controlled by ISIS.[cxii]

At Abu Kamal 116 ISIL fuel trucks were destroyed, while near Al Hasakah two ISIL positions were destroyed. At Al Hawl two strikes destroyed five buildings and a vehicle. At ar Raqqah one strike destroyed an ISIL storage depot. Another strike near Mar’a hit “an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.” Near Al Baghdadi two strikes destroyed a Heavy Machine Gun (HMG), and an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) cache. At Fallujah a building was destroyed, and at Albu Hayat an “ISIL tactical unit” was hit. Another enemy unit was hit at Kisik, as well as at Qayyarah where a weapons cache was also destroyed. Five strikes at Ramadi hit “six separate ISIL command and control nodes”. Near Sinjar two strikes destroyed four ISIL vehicles. The strikes were carried out without loss.[cxiii]

rafale2

One of ten Dassault Rafale aircraft surged to attack Raqqa.[cxiv]

Operation Tidal Wave II continues. French Air Force Rafale and Mirage 2000 aircraft flying out of the UAE and Jordan sortied for three days, targeting Rakka, and Mosul.[cxv] French President François Holland has dispatched the CVN Charles de Gaulle to deploy its 24 strong naval aviation wing. USAF capacity has increased with access to the Turkish Incirlik base for A-10 and F-15 aircaft.[cxvi] On November 19th US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced plans to escalate the air campaign amid calls from the Republican controlled US Congress to deploy additional ground forces to support anti-ISIL security forces.[cxvii] Carter stressed the potential for greater cooperation with Russia, in particular.

[i] Michael R. Gordon and Eric Schmitt, “U.S. Steps Up Its Attacks on ISIS-Controlled Oil Fields in Syria,” The New York Times, November 12, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/13/us/politics/us-steps-up-its-attacks-on-isis-controlled-oil-fields-in-syria.html.

[ii] https://twitter.com/hashtag/TIDALWAVEII?src=hash https://www.google.ca/maps/@35.2475487,40.4147392,1339609m/data=!3m1!1e3 http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/AfghanistanTopographicalMap_full.jpg

[iii] Mu Xuequan, “18 Killed, 46 Wounded in Attacks in Iraq’s Capital.,” Xinhuanet, January 29, 2014, Global edition, sec. World, news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2014-01/30/c_126080379.htm.

[iv] Kathleen Caulderwood, “Mosul Bank Robbery Isn’t The Only Thing Funding ISIS,” International Business Times, June 13, 2014, http://www.ibtimes.com/mosul-bank-robbery-isnt-only-thing-funding-isis-1601124.

[v] Martin Chulov and Fazel Hawramy, “Isis: Maliki Hails Syrian Air Raids in Iraq as Leaving Both States ‘Winners,’” The Guardian, June 27, 2014, sec. World news, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/26/nouri-maliki-admits-syria-air-raids-isis-iraq. ; Alaa Shahine and Selcan Hacaoglu, “Iraq Buys Used Russian Fighter Jets Amid U.S. Delivery Delay,” Bloomberg.com, June 26, 2014, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-06-26/iraq-buys-used-russian-fighter-jets-amid-u-s-delivery-delay.

[vi] jpost.com staff, “Obama Seeks $500 Million from Congress to Train ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels to Fight ISIS,” The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com, June 28, 2014, http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Obama-seeks-500-million-from-congress-to-train-moderate-Syrian-rebels-to-fight-ISIS-360845.

[vii] Adam Withnall, “Isis ‘Declares New Islamic State’ in Middle East,” The Independent, June 30, 2014, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-declares-new-islamic-state-in-middle-east-with-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-as-emir-removing-iraq-and-9571374.html.

[viii] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/islamic-state-fighters-seize-syria-gas-field-2014717134148345789.html ; http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/03/us-syria-crisis-islamicstate-idUSKBN0F80SO20140703

[ix] http://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/isis-sanctuary-map-june-10-2014

[x] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/11023094/Britain-considers-air-strikes-to-avert-genocide-in-Iraq.html

[xi] http://archive.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=16878

[xii] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/transcoded/c/c7/U.S._FA-18_Super_Hornet_strikes_in_Iraq_August_8_2014.ogv/U.S._FA-18_Super_Hornet_strikes_in_Iraq_August_8_2014.ogv.360p.webm

[xiii] http://archive.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=16879

[xiv] Ben Farmer et al., “Britain Considers Air Strikes to Avert Genocide in Iraq,” August 8, 2014, sec. News, ;http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/11023094/Britain-considers-air-strikes-to-avert-genocide-in-Iraq.html.

[xv] https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/08/07/statement-president

[xvi] https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/08/11/statement-president-iraq

[xvii] France 24, “Middle East – France to Consider Arming Iraqi Kurds Battling ISIS,” France 24, August 11, 2014, 24, http://www.france24.com/en/20140810-france-consider-arming-iraq-kurds-battling-isis-fabius/.

[xviii] http://archive.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=16881

[xix]https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery_img_full/image/image_file/p080714ps-0095.jpg

[xx] Nicholas Schmidle, “Inside the Failed Raid to Save Foley and Sotloff,” The New Yorker, September 5, 2014, http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/inside-failed-raid-free-foley-sotloff.

[xxi] http://archive.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=16909

[xxii] http://www.voanews.com/content/islamic-state-beyond-just-a-terrorist-group-says-hagel/2423915.html

[xxiii] http://archive.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=16922

[xxiv] http://archive.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=16927 ; Roberta Rampton, “Obama Authorizes $25 Million in Immediate Military Aid to Iraq: White House,” Reuters, September 10, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/10/us-iraq-crisis-obama-militaryaid-idUSKBN0H52BH20140910.

[xxv] ABC.net, “Australia Commits Military Force to International Fight against IS Militants,” Text, ABC News, (September 14, 2014), http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-14/australia-to-deploy-military-force-to-uae/5742498.

[xxvi] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/26/denmark-isis_n_5887230.html

[xxvii] http://www.newsweek.com/britain-belgium-and-denmark-join-global-coalition-against-islamic-state-273570 ; http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/cae69a7523db45408eeb2b3a98c0c9c5/Article_2014-09-26-EU–Europe-Iraq/id-ec4ff073827b494a95ffb0ed438b04fb

[xxviii]https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery_img_full/image/image_file/18_nato_14.jpg

[xxix] http://edition.cnn.com/2014/09/23/world/meast/syria-isis-airstrikes-explainer/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

[xxx] http://www.newsweek.com/britain-belgium-and-denmark-join-global-coalition-against-islamic-state-273570

[xxxi] https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/23/statement-president-airstrikes-syria

[xxxii] https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/raf-tornados-strike-first-islamic-state-targets-404310/

[xxxiii] https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/raf-tornados-strike-first-islamic-state-targets-404310/

[xxxiv] http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/canada-joins-us-uk-airstrikes-against-isis-iraq-1468426 ; http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-29483160

[xxxv] http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/iraqi-forces-recapture-key-towns-isis-following-22-us-air-strikes-1471756

[xxxvi] http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/iraqi-forces-recapture-key-towns-isis-following-22-us-air-strikes-1471756

[xxxvii] http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/isis-battle-kobani-becomes-spectator-sport-kurds-turkey-watch-air-strikes-1469908

[xxxviii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/20141116-CENTCOM-News-Release-Coalition-Planning-Conference-in-Support-of-Counter-ISIL-Operations-Concludes.pdf

[xxxix] http://www.voanews.com/content/us-plans-to-arm-sunni-tribesmen-in-iraq/2531289.html

[xl] http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/11/30/kurdish-fightersretakefiveiraqivillagesfromisil.html

[xli] http://gulfnews.com/news/mena/iraq/kurds-press-sinjar-operation-in-north-iraq-1.1429595

[xlii] http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/12/19/several-top-isis-leaders-killed-in-iraq/

[xliii] http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/12/19/several-top-isis-leaders-killed-in-iraq/

[xliv] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/Coalition-Conference-held-to-discuss-OIR.pdf

[xlv] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/Coalition-Conference-held-to-discuss-OIR.pdf

[xlvi] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/Bridgehead-Press-Release.pdf

[xlvii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/Press-Release-Al-Asad-Attack.pdf

[xlviii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/ISF-Take-Al-Baghdadi-release-March-06.pdf

[xlix] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/Peshmerga-Fighters-take-Key-ridgeline-Press-Release.pdf

[l] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/CENTCOM-Media-Advisory-Airstrike-Video-in-Support-of-Operation-Inherent-Resolve.pdf

[li] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/20150305_-_CENTCOM_News_Release_-_Video_of_Coalition_Airstrikes_Against_ISIL_in_Tikrit.pdf ; http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31699632

[lii] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31699632

[liii] https://www.dvidshub.net/video/396141/cjtf-oir-airstrike-daish-controlled-bridge-25-mar-15 http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/20150309_-_CENTCOM_Media_Advisory_-_Airstrike_Video_in_Support_of_Operation_Inherent_Resolve_Now_Available.pdf

[liv] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/ISF_blunt_ISIL_attacks.pdf

[lv] https://www.dvidshub.net/image/1843557/iraqi-soldiers-receive-class-82nd-abn#.Vkwav9-rSRs

[lvi] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/Video_of_BPC_Operations_in_Iraq_now_available.pdf

[lvii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150402_-_CENTCOM_News_Release_–_Correction_to_the_Record.pdf

[lviii]http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/20150410_ISIL_Map_Unclass_Approved.pdf

[lix] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/Government_of_Iraq_in_full_control_of_Bayji_Oil_Refinery.pdf

[lx] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/Peshmerga_Forces_Seize_More_ISIL_Held_Terrain_-_v3.pdf

[lxi] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150404_-_CENTCOM_News_Release_–_CENTCOM_hosts_Coalition_Planning_Conference_27_April_-_1_May.pdf

[lxii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150405_-_CENTCOM_Media_Advisory_-_Airstrike_Video_in_Support_of_Operation_Inherent_Resolve_Now_Available.pdf

[lxiii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150505_-_CENTCOM_Media_Advisory_-_Airstrike_Video_in_Support_of_Operation_Inherent_Resolve_Now_Available.pdf

[lxiv] http://archive.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=17274

[lxv] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150503-_CENTCOM_News_Release_-_Initial_Class_of_Syrian_Opposition_Forces_Begin_Training.pdf

[lxvi] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150515_-_Media_Release_-_ISFBOR.pdf

[lxvii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/Coalition_United_to_defeat_Daesh.pdf

[lxviii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/Coalition_United_to_defeat_Daesh.pdf

[lxix] http://archive.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=17328

[lxx] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150601-CENTCOM_Media_Advisory-Statement_by_the_Commander_US_Central_Command.pdf?SpeechID=1949

[lxxi] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150704-Media_Release-Coalition_Airstrikes_degrade_ISIL_freedom_of_movement_in_Syria.pdf?SpeechID=1949

[lxxii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150828_Media_Release_Peshmerga_Successfully_Clears_Territory_and_Liberates_Villages.pdf

[lxxiii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSNPupGz_T8&feature=youtu.be

[lxxiv] http://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/isis-sanctuary-map-september-15-2015

[lxxv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/616367/statement-on-iraq-conducting-its-first-counter-isil-air-operations-using-f-16-f

[lxxvi] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150908-Media-Release-Coalition-airstrikes-destroy-an-ISIL-staging-area-and-weapons-cache.pdf

[lxxvii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150924-Media_Release-Mosul_VBIED_Network_Airstrikes.pdf

[lxxviii] https://youtu.be/RfDTKaIeD4I

[lxxix] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZX-b0buK6A&feature=youtu.be

[lxxx] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150930-News_Release-Peshmerga_Offensive-FINAL.PDF

[lxxxi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/622516/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-turkish-minister-of-defense-vecdi-gon

[lxxxii] US Defense Department, “Operation Inherent Resolve: Targeted Operations Against ISIL Terrorists,” Summary, (October 31, 2015), http://www.defense.gov/News/Special-Reports/0814_Inherent-Resolve.

[lxxxiii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/622610/statement-on-syria

[lxxxiv] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20151016-News_Release-Qayyarah_Oil_Refinery-FINAL.pdf

[lxxxv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/624656/statement-on-airstrike-in-syria-that-killed-sanafi-al-nasr

[lxxxvi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/624923/statement-from-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-memorandum-of-understandi

[lxxxvii] Gordon and Schmitt, “U.S. Steps Up Its Attacks on ISIS-Controlled Oil Fields in Syria.”

[lxxxviii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20151022-01_CENTCOM_News_Release-CENTCOM_CDR_Statement_on_Hostage_Rescue.pdf

[lxxxix] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBJZmI1O2T4&feature=youtu.be

[xc] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20151023-Media%20Release-Operation_Inherent_Resolve_Casualty.pdf ; http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20151025_-_News_Release_-_Airstrike_Destroys_ISIL_Prison_-_FINAL.pdf

[xci] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/626144/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-israeli-minister-of-defense-yaalon

[xcii]http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/31_October_2015.pdf

[xciii] US Defense Department, “Operation Inherent Resolve: Targeted Operations Against ISIL Terrorists.”

[xciv]http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/31_October_2015.pdf

[xcv]http://www.defense.gov/portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/costUpdates/ISIL_Master_Report-31Oct15.png

[xcvi] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3321934/Britain-joins-fight-RAF-steps-bombing-campaign-against-ISIS-wake-Paris-attacks-killing-30-terrorists.html

[xcvii] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/video-shows-russian-air-strike-explode-isis-oil-refinery-a6740256.html

[xcviii] http://oracleherald.com/2015/11/18/russia-russian-federation-bombards-raqqa-isis-hq.html

[xcix] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/06/17/world/middleeast/map-isis-attacks-around-the-world.html?_r=1

[c] https://twitter.com/CJTFOIR/status/666274656014454784

[ci] Robert Verkaik, “Jihadi John Dead: Mohammed Emwazi Has Been Killed, but Others Will Replace Him – Times of India,” The Times of India, November 16, 2015, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Jihadi-John-dead-Mohammed-Emwazi-has-been-killed-but-others-will-replace-him/articleshow/49798432.cms.   ; http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/628777/statement-from-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-airstrike-in-raqqa-syria

[cii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/628954/statement-from-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-us-strike-in-libya

[ciii] https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgv7fFrpktGrcJtanYifRYw

[civ] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDNb59ng54Y

[cv] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/12/world/middleeast/the-iraq-isis-conflict-in-maps-photos-and-video.html

[cvi] https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CT8VRNMVAAAIo0M.jpg:large   ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UObneqgeME

[cvii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDNb59ng54Y ; http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20151112-News%20Release-Peshmerga_Sinjar_Offensive_E.pdf

[cviii] https://youtu.be/RfDTKaIeD4I

[cix]https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery_img_full/image/image_file/p111515ps-1198.jpg

[cx] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/628974/readout-of-secretary-carters-call-with-french-minister-of-defense-jean-yves-le

[cxi] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/12/world/middleeast/the-iraq-isis-conflict-in-maps-photos-and-video.html

[cxii] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/61/Syria_and_Iraq_2014-onward_War_map.png

[cxiii]https://www.facebook.com/CJTFOIR/posts/1635460616720073?utm_source=hootsuite

[cxiv] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3319696/French-fighter-jets-carry-massive-airstrike-operation-ISIS-stronghold-city-Raqqa-Syria.html

[cxv] Nathalie Guibert, “Raids aériens pour « casser la machine » Etat islamique,” Le Monde.fr, November 18, 2015, sec. Société, http://www.lemonde.fr/attaques-a-paris/article/2015/11/18/raids-aeriens-pour-casser-la-machine-etat-islamique_4812441_4809495.html.

[cxvi] Ibid.

[cxvii] Eliza Collins, “Defense Secretary Ash Carter Signals an Escalation against ISIL,” POLITICO, November 19, 2015, http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/ash-carter-isil-syria-216049.

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