U.S. airstrikes on Saturday evening were successful in pushing back Islamic State militants around the town of Amerli, a Shiite town 100 miles north of Baghdad, allowing Iraqi security forces to liberate the town after militants had formed a blockade around the town since June, preventing the reception of food and medicine in the besieged town.
Last Thursday U.S. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a press conference that the United States was concerned about the humanitarian problems in northern and central Iraq and planned to work closely with the Iraqi Government to share information and discuss ways to provide relief to those in need.
“We are very concerned about the dire conditions for the mainly Turkmen population in Amirli as well as the ongoing humanitarian situation throughout northern and central Iraq” Psaki said on Thursday.
The Amerli airstrikes on Saturday were followed by an international airdrop of relief supplies coordinated with Australia, Britain, and France.
In August the U.S. used airstrikes and humanitarian aid to help Kurdish forces support thousands of Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority with ties that were surrounded by Islamic State militants on a mountain in western Iraq.
More U.S. airstrikes were used to push back Islamic State militants who seized control of the Mosul Damn, Iraq’s largest damn.
The United States is now seeking to develop a broad-based strategy to confront Islamic State militants in Iraq who have gained control over large territories in northwestern Iraq and have a strong network of support in neighboring Syria which comes as Iraq’s government in Baghdad is in a stage of transition after former Iraqi PM Maliki recently resigned after failing to gain the trust of Iraq’s Sunni population across much of Iraq.
U.S. President Obama faced criticism from Republicans last Thursday following a remark he made about the U.S. having “no strategy” to attack Islamic State militants in Syria and White House Press Secretary John Earnest said they’re still waiting for the Pentagon to give them options.
U.S. General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a week ago that Islamic State couldn’t be defeated without addressing the Syrian side of what is now a non-existent border between Syria and Iraq.
The Obama administration was believed to be preparing a strike of military targets inside Syria after U.S. surveillance flights were authorized over Syria last week and Assad’s government in Damascus showed more openness to an international response inside its borders that cooperates in confronting Islamic State militants threatening to take over the region and impose a caliphate stretching from Iran to the Mediterranean Sea.
This week President Obama will head to Europe for a NATO Summit along with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to discuss military strategies for Iraq and eastern Ukraine.
Both Secretary Hagel and Secretary Kerry will travel to the Middle East after the NATO Summit to gather more regional support from Arab allies to build up Iraq’s national defenses and combat the growing threat of Islamic State militants.
Last Thursday during a press conference President Obama said that one of his primary goals in Iraq is to give Iraqi citizens the opportunity to govern itself effectively and secure the country.
“As soon as we have an Iraqi government in place, the likelihood of the Iraqi security forces being more effective in taking the fight to ISIL significantly increases. And the options that I’m asking for from the Joint Chiefs focuses primarily on making sure that ISIL is not overrunning Iraq” Obama said.
Concerning Syria, President Obama explained that that the solution in Syria involves a political solution and not just a military one.
President Obama said that U.S. will support securing Syria in some fashion by backing a moderate opposition to the Assad government in Damascus that is vying for control over the dominant radicalized opposition groups that have coalesced around Islamic State militant ideology.
“It’s going to require us to stabilize Syria in some fashion, and stabilizing Syria in some fashion means that we’ve got to get moderate Sunnis who are able to govern and offer a real alternative and competition to what ISIL has been doing in some of these spaces, ” Obama said.
So far the financial burden for pushing back against Islamic State militants in Iraq has fallen on U.S. taxpayers.
Last week the Pentagon reported that the U.S. air force and military advisory campaign is costing U.S. taxpayers $7.5 million per day which comes after the U.S. has already spent over $2 trillion dollars in Iraq to topple former Iraqi President Sadaam Hussein and search for enriched uranium that was never discovered after the U.S. defeated the Iraqi military beginning in 2003.
The decade-long American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq could end up costing as much as $6 trillion as Americans debate the importance of spending taxpayer money to fight continual battles in the Middle East and SE Asia with America’s rich Arab neighbors spending very little to combat the spread of militant Islam with its fundamentalist doctrine.