NEW YORK, August 9 (RIA Novosti) – US airstrikes on militants from the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq are not part of a broader strategy to defeat the Sunni rebels and could backfire, counterterrorism expert Faysal Itani told RIA Novosti.
"Washington’s actions are not part of a broader strategy to defeat ISIS in either Iraq or Syria — US strategy remains vague and undefined,” Itani said.
“ISIS will not make a costly, futile stand to resist US air superiority, and their substantial territorial gains in recent months offer plenty of room to retreat. Unless the group is targeted in northern and eastern Syria, it will adapt and continue to threaten Iraq’s central government, Kurdish forces and rival Syrian rebels," counterterrorism expert elaborated.
“These airstrikes were most likely precipitated by the Islamic States’ recent military gains in northern Iraq. There is now a threat to the critical Kurdish city of Irbil. Reports that ISIS now controls the Mosul dam — Iraq’s largest, and a critical strategic asset — have raised US concerns over the group’s gains and entrenchment,” stressed Itani, an analyst at the Atlantic Council.
The Pentagon launched drone and manned aircraft attacks on artillery, a mortar position and a convoy that the Islamic State was using against Kurdish forces defending the northern city of Irbil on Friday.
The Sunni Muslim group IS, also known as ISIS and ISIL, now controls swathes of Iraq and Syria. The rebels took control of Mosul in June and seized Qaraqosh this week, forcing tens of thousands of Christians to flee into the mountains.