Despite Speech, Obama Has Yet to Order Syria Strikes

So Far, Centcom Authority Limited to Strikes Inside Iraq

Though President Obama made clear in last night’s high profile speech that he intends to expand the new war on ISIS into neighboring Syria, Pentagon officials say he hasn’t actually issued any orders to that effect.

Officials quoted anonymously in the media said that the authority given to Centcom commander Gen. Lloyd Austin with respect to the ISIS war includes authority to expand “offensive operations,” but only inside of Iraq, and not into neighboring Syria.

The White House told reporters at briefings today that strikes into Syria are a “certainty,” though the Pentagon believes any such attacks, which would be in the face of formal opposition from Syria, are weeks away.

Looming over starting those strikes is the comment from a top Air Force commander that the airstrikes are going to require boots on the ground inside Syria to coordinate. Though the US has been building up its presence in Iraq, they have continued to deny that a ground war is forthcoming.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.