Tag Archives: air strikes

British Parliament Approves Expanding Air Strikes Into Syria

by Jason Ditz

In a 397-223 vote that followed over 10 hours of debate, the British House of Commons voted in favor of expanding the nation’s involvement in the ISIS war into neighboring Syria. A previous resolution had only allowed them to conduct strikes in Iraq.

Shortly after the vote, the first four British bombers took off from an air base in Cyprus, heading toward Syria. Officials indicated that the first strikes were likely to happen within a matter of hours, but didn’t offer further clarification beyond that.

Prime Minister David Cameron has been pushing hard for the vote, and accused those voting against it of being “terrorist sympathizers.” During today’s debate he labeled ISIS “medieval monsters” and insisted attacks would begin as soon as possible. Officials have since indicated the first strikes could happen as soon as tonight.

The vote was much more strongly in favor of the airstrikes than most had expected, as the opposition Labour Party was said to have strongly opposed the vote, but 67 MPs ultimately switched sides. Cameron had also come under criticism from some in his own party for claims about 70,000 “moderate” Syrians willing to back Britain in the strikes.

Despite being explicitly forbidden from doing so until today’s vote, British warplanes have bombed Syrian targets several times in the past year, with Cameron arguing those were “technically” legal because the planes were embedded with Canadian forces. With Canada withdrawing from the war, Cameron has since needed to come up with a new justification, and so sought today’s vote.

Saudi Arabia Targets Houthi Rebels with Air Strikes As Yemen Implodes into Civil War

The free-fall collapse of Yemen’s US-and-Saudi-Arabia-backed regime seems to be escalating from a civil war into a regional conflict, as Saudi Arabia began amassing military assets on the border to Yemen Tuesday and initiated a series of intense air strikes against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen on Wednesday. The United States recently pulled troops and diplomatic staff out of Yemen as Shiite Houthi rebels, backed by troops loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, rapidly deposed Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who fled Aden and went into hiding in neighboring Djibouti.

The New York Times notes that the Houthi rebels took the Al Anad air base, which had been used by US counter-terrorism troops up until their recent evacuation, and subsequently launched air strikes with stolen Yemeni Air Force planes against Hadi’s home. This follows reports that Yemeni insurgents have likely obtained $500 million worth of US weapons that had been donated to Hadi’s regime in an effort to fight al-Qaeda terrorists in the region.

With Hadi on the run and Iranian-backed Shiite rebels threatening to conquer Yemen, a majority Sunni nation, neighboring Sunni superpower Saudi Arabia has officially made the decision to intervene, launching air strikes on an airport and air base near Sanaa, Yemen’s Houthi-overrun capital. The above-embedded Inform video footage points out the fact that Saudi Arabian officials say that the nation, backed by a coalition of 10 allies, is ready to send as many as 150,000 troops into Yemen. Sudan, Pakistan, and Jordan have also offered to contribute ground troops to Saudi Arabia’s attacks in Yemen, and Egypt is rumored to be considering joining the effort. US officials said that the Saudi Arabian bombing campaign was bolstered by logistical and intelligence support from the United States. Early reports place the death toll caused by the Saudi strikes at 13.

Meanwhile, Iran has condemned Saudi Arabia’s intervention, setting up a likely proxy war, as Iran is a rumored benefactor of the Houthi rebels’ assault on the Hadi regime. Anger over US drone strikes has been cited as a spark that contributed to the genesis of the Houthi uprising.

As the conflict widens throughout the region, al-Qaeda and ISIS lurk beneath the surface, working to capitalize on the chaos by launching attacks on the Houthi rebels in an attempt to occupy the power vacuum created by Hadi’s de-facto self-imposed exile.

Rand Paul Calls for Declaration of War on ISIS

On Monday, Senator Rand Paul released the draft for a Declaration of War resolution against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which he plans to introduce to Congress in December.

Paul began the resolution by citing Article I, section 8, of the United States Constitution, which gives Congress the power to declare war. He stated that due to the fact that ISIS “has declared war on the United States and its allies,” along with the fact that ISIS “presents a clear and present danger to United States diplomatic facilities in the region,” the U.S. Congress should declare war in return.

The state of war between the United States and the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has been thrust upon the United States, is hereby formally declared pursuant to Article I, section 8, clause 11, of the United States Constitution.

The resolution went on to state that it would give the President authorization to “use the Armed Forces of the United States to protect the people and facilities of the United States in Iraq and Syria against the threats” posed by ISIS.

In addition to taking action against ISIS, Paul seeks to repeal the authorization of the “use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq,” which was signed by President Bush in 2002.

The resolution also proposed that the “authorization for the use of military force,” which was signed in 2001, and has been used by President Obama to carry out airstrikes in Yemen and Somalia, would be terminated exactly one year after the resolution is authorized.

Regarding the possibility of using ground troops to combat ISIS, the resolution stated that ground troops would only be used “as necessary for the protection or rescue of members of the United States Armed Forces or United States citizens from imminent danger” posed by ISIS.

Weekend air strikes in Iraq were authorized by president

After saying he had no strategy yet as to how to handle ISIS in Iraq, President Obama sent a letter to Congress Monday saying he had authorized a series of air strikes in Iraq over the weekend.

The air strikes were reportedly part of an effort to break the two-month siege of the northern-Iraqi town of Amerli, which has a predominantly Shi’ite inhabitants.  Along with the air strikes, humanitarian aid was airdropped in to the trapped residents in order to help the militias fight ISIS forces.

According to the War Powers Resolution, the president has to notify Congress of any use of military force against foreign combatants, such as this.

However, this is the third letter sent to Congress by the president outlining the reason for using air strikes in Iraq.

The first letter was sent earlier in August saying air strikes would be used to protect U.S. officials in Erbil, the Kurdish regional capitol, according to the Hill.  The same letter outlined how the airstrikes would also be used to protect Yazidi civilians who have been threatened by ISIS.

A second letter was sent saying air strikes would be used to help Iraqi forces recapture the ISIS controlled dam at Mosul.

“This operation is consistent with the military missions we have outlined to date in Iraq- to protect U.S. personnel and facilities and to address the humanitarian situation on the ground,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden, according to the Raw Story.

Israeli Air Strikes Pound Multiple Syrian Army Sites

This article was written by guest contributor Jason Ditz.

Israeli officials were quick to blame Syria’s military for an attack in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, when an attack on a car killed a 15-year-old Israeli. The Israeli Air Force is now launching multiple air strikes across Syria.

Israeli military officials insisted the Golan attack was an “intentional” attack, and that they believe Syria’s military fired an antitank missile at the teenager’s car for no apparent reason.

The region along the Israeli frontier is virtually constantly contested between Syria’s military and various rebel factions, many of whom have been receiving US antitank missiles recently in an attempt to turn the tide of the ongoing Syrian Civil War.

Israel’s air strikes don’t appear to be border-specific, but are hitting military targets across the region, including the nation’s military headquarters. Though the casualties are not yet clear, strikes that significantly degrade the Syrian military could inadvertently aid not only the US-backed rebels but also ISIS, the largest rebel faction, which has taken over much of the country’s east.

 

 

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