According to senior administration officials, President Obama’s latest notion on intervention in Iraq is to model it after the ongoing Yemen drone war, launching “highly selective” airstrikes against ISIS forces in Iraq rather than engaging in a full-scale air war aimed at changing the situation on the ground.
Officials say the US is in the process of trying to gather “intelligence” on where militants are in Mosul and Tikrit, and that the strikes could begin in a few days, and could last for a “prolonged period.”
This was apparently selected out of a “sliding scale” of different military options for Iraq, and that the open-ended campaign of targeted airstrikes envisions slowly weakening ISIS leadership.
Bizarrely, the Yemen campaign has been anything but a success, as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)’s leadership hasn’t been seriously degraded by years of US attacks, and unlike AQAP, ISIS is seizing territory outright, and establishing its own nation.
The plan seems to concede ISIS’s existence as a de facto state, while antagonizing their leadership, which is now armed with US anti-aircraft missiles looted from Iraq.