The Pentagon claims to have found a way to regain the initiative in the Middle East: it now wants to force ISIL to fight on several fronts by massively increasing US-led airstrikes and deploying more anti-tank weapons to Iraq.
“The US is rebooting its strategy in the war against Islamic State after months of stalemate and Russia’s intervention in the Syrian conflict,” reads an article in The Times of London.
“The Pentagon’s plan, steered by General Joseph Dunford, America’s top military commander, would force ISIS (ISIL) to fight on several fronts. It calls for coordinated offensives involving Syrian and Iraqi Kurdish forces, the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shia militias — which the US refuses to endorse. Ash Carter, the US defense secretary, and senior officials are expected to outline the strategy to Congress next week.”
“Amid reports that the Kremlin has requested permission from Baghdad to begin airstrikes inside Iraq, General Dunford is plotting a massive increase in US-led airstrikes and the deployment of substantially more anti-tank weapons to regain the initiative.”
General Dunford, the outlet says, has already flown to the Kurdish city of Arbil to formalize the new offensive.
Probably one of the guarantees for the future success of the new initiative is the assurance from Iraq that it would not seek Russian air strikes against ISIL.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Tuesday that he had laid out a choice when he met with Iraqi Prime Minister and Defense Minister: it would be very difficult for Washington to provide the kind of support to Iraq if the Russians were operating there as well.
However on Thursday the Iraqi Parliament’s defense committee secretary told Sputnik that Iraq did not give the United States any promises that it would not turn to Russia with a request to conduct airstrikes against the Islamic State.