As far as the situation in the Levant progresses there have been no strategic or tactical events that would signal a major situational change on the ground. ISIL continues to conduct attacks in both Syria and Iraq, while the US led coalition continues to bomb them one truck at a time. While at the same time Iraqi army continues to be incompetent and unable to conduct even the basic operations. Our bombing campaign is certainly killing the enemy and destroying their equipment, but it will not fundamentally change the situation on the ground as our allies on the ground are almost totally worthless. Even with US air power they don’t seem to have the will to fight and win.
So we will continue to poor resources in, without a strategy of how to deal with Sunni extremists in the long term. The fact that Turkey this week bombed some of the Kurds that are fighting ISIL while at the same time refusing to attack ISIL should be the canary in the mine with regards to our strategy there. When our nominal allies don’t consider the group on their border such as ISIL a threat, then why are we there? Until we have a strategy that eliminates the Sunni Arab support for groups like ISIL from fellow Sunni such as Turks and Saudis, nothing we do over there will provide for a long term solution to the Sunni terrorism issue. On a somewhat positive note, Iraq now has both a defense and interior minister. However given the fact that it took this many months for the appointments to happen, clearly shows Iraqis do not consider the current situation urgent.
On an air force related note, it was interesting to see a few article on how ISIL is now flying or training to fly Syrian captured jets, this news once again highlights the difference between ISIL and their opponents. Iraqi Air Force needed a multitude of trainers and billions in US aid year after year just to be barely capable. ISIL on the other hand can apparently figure out how to do so without foreign aid or support, in a few months. Why is that? When we can answer that question and truly understand the dynamics on the ground in the Levant, then we could finally be on the path of forming a real strategy for fighting Sunni Islamic extremism. Or better yet, leave the fighting for the governments there to deal with it and instead concentrate US resources on the true threat of rising China.