Iraq: Syria and Jordan Drawn Into The Fold as US Readies for Action
While the United States has been pondering whether or not to take military action in Iraq, other actors such as Bashar al-Assad’s Syria are replacing the opening in the power vacuum created by the ongoing sectarian bloodshed. Syrian fighter jets bombed ISIS targets inside of Iraq Tuesday, revealing physical evidence that it will stay friendly to its fellow Shiites in the Middle East under Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.
Separately, Jordan is on high alert after ISIS reportedly took over a Jordanian-Iraqi border crossing. In response, “The General Command of the Armed Forces of Jordan has decided to strengthen its military forces on Jordan’s border with Iraq in an unprecedented manner” and that “the military buildup consisted of rocket launchers, armored personnel carriers and tanks,” said a senior Jordanian military official. He added, “The Jordanian army is not afraid of any party that is considering compromising or tampering with the security of the country.”
Sources said 228 Iraqis, including Brigadier General Ali-al-Asadi, fled into Jordan as the ISIS militants overtook the border crossing.
There were reports Wednesday that ISIS had attacked one of Iraq’s biggest air bases, once known by US forces as “Camp Anaconda” during Operation Iraqi Freedom, near the town of Yathrib. Reuters said “Anaconda” was under fire from three different flanks.
As ISIS forces continue their advances on multiple fronts, two ISIS jihadis told the BBC that Baghdad will crumble in “less than a month” and they were going to be in the capital city “very soon”.
90 US Special Forces arrived in Iraq as part of the group of up to 300 military advisors President Obama said he would send to Baghdad as part of the US’s ongoing ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) efforts. The Pentagon said that the US is now flying as many as 35 daily manned along with unmanned missions into Iraq to retrieve surveillance.
Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to the Kurdish region’s capital of Irbil, urging them not to break off into their own independent entity, and to remain a part of the whole of Iraq. “A united Iraq is a stronger Iraq, and our policy is to respect the territorial integrity of Iraq as a whole,” said Kerry. Some regional experts have articulated that it may be best in the long-run if Iraq were to decentralize and break up into three separate independent states: a Sunni, Shiite, and A Kurdish country.