Look Who’s Behind The Lack Of Success In The US-Led Air Campaign Against ISIS

President Obama on Sunday once again vowed to destroy Islamic State during a meeting with Asian leaders in Malaysia.

“Destroying (Islamic State) is not only a realistic goal, we’re going to get it done,” Obama said optimistically, while adding:

We will destroy them. We will take back land they are currently in, take out their financing, hunt down leadership, dismantle their networks, supply lines and we will destroy them.

During the same meeting, Obama rejected ISIS’ claim that the United States is at war with Islam. The President said the notion that the U.S. was against a single religion undermines national security because the United States is made up of people from different religions. He claimed that this kind of discrimination and prejudice helps Islamic State.

“I want to stress on this – prejudice and discrimination helps IS and undermines our national security. There’s a difference between being vigilant – having smart applications of law enforcement and military intelligence – and succumbing to the kind of fear that leads us to abandon our values, how we live or how we treat each other,” Obama told reporters.

Obama also lectured Russian President Vladimir Putin on the war against Islamic State. The American president said that Russia needs “to make a strategic decision to go after the Islamic State group, not the moderate opposition forces trying to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad,“ the Associated Press reported.

While Obama was in Malaysia, the Russian army claimed to have carried out the most devastating attack on Islamic State in Syria thus far. The British newspaper The Sunday Express, quoting high-ranking Russian army officials, reported that more than 600 ISIS terrorists were killed in a single strike with a cruise missile.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Saturday that Russian warplanes had carried out a staggering 394 sorties in Syria in just three days. The Russian jets hit 731 rebel targets in the country, but it was not clear how many ISIS targets were hit by the Russian air force.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond apparently doesn’t share Obama’s criticism of the Russian actions in Syria. Hammond made it clear that he sees signs that Russia had indeed turned its fire in Syria on ISIS last week. While in Cyprus, Hammond said: “We have seen over the last 48 hours that the Russians are clearly focusing more effort on counter-ISIL (ISIS), which is good.”

“I don’t doubt that the Russians believe every bit as much as we do in the need to destroy ISIL (ISIS). And in fact, Russia is every bit as threatened by ISIL (ISIS) and the ideology behind it as we are,” he added.

At the same time, it became clear that Obama’s own anti-ISIS strategy prevents the U.S. air force from effectively striking the Islamic State.

Nearly 75% of all U.S. warplanes that were sent on bombing runs against Islamic State targets in the first four months of this year returned to their bases without dropping a single bomb or firing a rocket.

“The U.S. conducted 7,319 sorties over Iraq and Syria as part of Operation Inherent Resolve in the first four months of 2015. Of those, only 1,859 flights — 25.4 percent — had at least one ‘weapons release’…That means that only about one in every four flights dropped a bomb on an Islamic State target,” according to the Washington Times in a report on May 31st of this year. The paper based its conclusions on data that it received from the United States Air Force Central Command.

The reason the planes didn’t drop their bombs on the designated ISIS targets has to do with Obama’s apparent stubbornness, and not with a lack of intelligence as was suggested by some of the media in May.

Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon reported last week that U.S. air force pilots had told Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, that the Obama administration policy intended to prevent civilian deaths and collateral damage in Iraq and Syria is to blame for the lack of effective bombing of Islamic State targets.

“You went 12 full months while ISIS was on the march without the U.S. using that air power and now as the pilots come back to talk to us they say three-quarters of our ordnance we can’t drop, we can’t get clearance even when we have a clear target in front of us. I don’t understand this strategy at all because this is what has allowed ISIS the advantage and ability to recruit,” Royce fumed.

The Obama administration, however, was unfazed by Royce’s criticism. A spokesman for the administration defended Obama’s zero civilian deaths policy:

“The bottom line is that we will not stoop to the level of our enemy and put civilians more in harm’s way than absolutely necessary. The fact that aircraft go on missions and don’t strike anything is not out of the norm,” the official said. “Despite U.S. strikes being the most precise in the history of warfare, conducting strike operations in the heavily populated areas where ISIL hides certainly presents challenges. We are fighting an enemy who goes out of their way to put civilians at risk. However, our pilots understand the need for the tactical patience in this environment. This fight against ISIL is not the kind of fight from previous decades.”

Jack Keane, a retired four-star U.S. general, shared Royce’s criticism of Obama’s handling of the air campaign against ISIS.

“This has been an absurdity from the beginning. The president personally made a statement that has driven air power from the inception,” Keane told Royce in a response to questions posed by the congressman.

“When we agreed we were going to do airpower, and the military said, this is how it would work, he (Obama) said, No, I do not want any civilian casualties,” Keane told Royce. “And the response was, but there’s always some civilian casualties. We have the best capability in the world to protect from civilians casualties,” he added.

Keane then told Royce that Obama’s response was, “No, you don’t understand. I want no civilian casualties. Zero.”

“So that has driven our so-called rules of engagement to a degree we have never had in any previous air campaign from desert storm to the present,” the retired general told Royce.

The result of the administration’s strategy in the air campaign against ISIS has not only been a lack of effectiveness, but also a sharp decline in U.S. dominance of airspace in Syria–and, to a lesser degree, in Iraq.

The Russians now control airspace in Syria because they have deployed the S-400 air defense system in the country that effectively enables them to control all air traffic above Syria. Also, the Russians have carved out corridors for their warplanes in Syria and Iraq that are in fact off-limits for the U.S.-led coalition airplanes.

What this means is that, as Western Journalism predicted earlier, less than three months after the Russian intervention, Syria now indeed has no-fly zones–but not for Assad’s murderous air force that has a tendency to target civilians only.

Top Russian Leader Drops Bombshell About Obama And ISIS That Barack Won’t Want Americans To Hear

According to Bloomberg Business, which cited an Interfax account of a conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told the press that ISIS’ strength “became possible partly due to irresponsible U.S. politics.” Medvedev stated it was because Mr. Obama was more focused on his ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while ignoring the growth and atrocities of ISIS. Western Journalism reported that Obama grossly underestimated the growth and strength of ISIS, calling ISIS the “JV team” and claiming as late as last week that ISIS was “contained.”

Mendvedev reportedly likened the growth of ISIS to the growth of al Qaeda, which resulted in the 9/11 bombings in New York in 2001.

Yet, even with the recent Russian criticism, it appears as though Mr. Obama is still focused on Assad’s ouster and not on unifying with Russia against ISIS. According to Bloomberg Business’ report, Obama said, “It is not conceivable that Mr. Assad can regain legitimacy in a country in which a large majority of that country despises Assad, and will not stop fighting so long as he’s in power.” And Obama reportedly said, “Russia has not officially committed to a transition of Assad moving out but they did agree to a political transition process…And I think we’ll find out over the next several weeks whether or not we can bring about that change in perspective with the Russians.”

It is unlikely that the ouster of Assad will lead to peace in the Middle East. ISIS has already claimed responsibility for its attack in Paris. The terrorist organization continues to strike targets outside of Syria. Mark Hensch of The Hill wrote, “ISIS has claimed responsibility for a string of terrorist attacks across Paris that killed 130 people and wounded more than 300 others. It has also taken credit for bombing a Russian passenger jet and killing 224 people late last month.”

Assad is fighting ISIS as well, alongside Russia, Cuba, and Iran. Assad’s departure would only result in ISIS being able to claim Syria as a permanent Islamic state and base of operations to conduct its worldwide terror campaign in its quest to create an Islamic caliphate.

WATCH: Russia Uses Unprecedented Firepower Against Islamic State In Syria

A day after Russia officially confirmed that the civilian airplane that crashed in the Sinai Peninsula at the end of October was downed by a bomb aboard, Russia’s army in Syria stepped up its actions against Islamic State.

ISIS affiliate Waliyat Sinai has claimed responsibility for the downing of the Russian plane and the death of all 224 people aboard. The group filmed the explosion that downed the plane and released the video shortly after the attack. The plane was flying at an altitude of more than 30,000 feet after taking off from the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh when an explosion occurred.

Today, Islamic State published details about how the plane was brought down in its Dabiq online magazine. The organization said it downed the plane with an improvised explosive device that was hidden in a soda can.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced yesterday that he has ordered Special Forces of the Red Army to find and punish those responsible for the attack on the plane and promised a $50 million reward for information that will lead to the arrest of those responsible. The Russian leader also pledged to increase Russia’s military activity in Syria in response to the terrorist attack by Islamic State.

“Our military work in Syria must not only continue. It must be strengthened in such a way so that the terrorists will understand that retribution is inevitable,” Putin declared.

The Russian army didn’t waste time and launched an unprecedented cruise missile assault on Islamic State in Syria earlier today. The Kremlin confirmed that Russian warplanes had fired multiple cruise missiles at Raqqa, the capital of ISIS, and on Islamic State positions in the Aleppo and Idlib Provinces in Syria.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of Russia reported that “the missiles were launched from Tu-160 (Black Jack) and Tu-95 (Bear) warplanes, and said they were among 2,300 sorties carried out by the Russian military in the past 48 days.” ”The 34 cruise missiles destroyed 13 key targets including command post that were used to coordinate ISIS activities in Idlib and Aleppo,” General Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, announced.

French government officials later confirmed the Russian strikes on Raqqa, and images of the cruise missiles flying over Syria appeared on social media. The cruise missile attacks on Islamic State were launched after the Russians had briefed the U.S. led anti-ISIS coalition in Qatar.

The Russians will also bring an additional 37 warplanes to Syria “including eight Su-34 (Fullback) strike fighters and four Su-27 fighter jets,” The Russian news agency Sputnik reported.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged the international community today to unite on the fate of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Lavrov wants the U.S. and its allies to drop the demand for the resignation of Assad. Moscow wants the Syrian people to decide on Assad’s fate via elections that should be held next year.

“I hope the change in the position of our Western colleagues — which has unfortunately only come about as the result of terrible acts of terror — will spread to other Western partners. That the stance that the real battle with ISIS can only be resolved once the fate of Assad is clear, that this position will put to one side,” said Lavrov.

Lavrov referred to the coordination between France and Russia during the airstrikes on Raqqa at the beginning of this week. The Obama administration and its Western allies, however, have until now ruled out a scenario where Assad stays in power.

The U.S. and its allies have long assessed that getting rid of Assad is a prerequisite for either a limited campaign to eradicate ISIS or for a broad campaign to end the Syrian war. This has not only to do with the war crimes that Assad committed during the four-year-old civil war in Syria, but also with the fact that Assad has colluded with Islamic State to ensure the group’s survival.

A 2014 report by Middle East analyst Kyle Orton summed up the level of this collusion. He mentioned the slitting of oil revenues, the release of Sunni Salafists who ended up in the Islamic State and sharing of intelligence. Bassam Barabandia, a defector in the Syrian Foreign Ministry, later confirmed what Orton wrote.

The former Syrian diplomat wrote in a blog post for MENAsource the following about Assad’s role in the rise of Islamic State:

The Assad plan also included allowing extremist Sunni groups to grow and travel freely in order to complicate any Western support for his opponents. The Assad regime and Iran have meticulously nurtured the rise of al-Qaeda, and then ISIS, in Syria. In his March 2011 speech addressing the protests, Assad claimed that an international terrorist conspiracy sought to topple his government. During this time, Assad released battle-hardened extremists from the infamous Sednaya prison; extremists with no association to the uprisings. These fighters would go on to lead militant groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra.

In conjunction with the terrorist-release policy, Assad was sure to imprison diverse, non-violent, and pro-reform activists by the thousands, many of whom are still in government prisons. These efforts, coupled with relentless barrel bombing, torture, and chemical weapons campaigns, were designed to silence, kill, or displace civilians so that the influence of extremists would fill their absence. Assad was careful to never take any steps to attack ISIS as they grew in power and strength.

The announcement of ISIS’s caliphate is most helpful in draining time and distracting the world from Assad’s destruction of Syrian society. Now that ISIS has fully matured, the Assad regime and Iran offer themselves as partners to the United States.

Secretary of State John Kerry this weekend confirmed that the Obama administration has not changed its position on Assad and is aware of his collusion with Islamic State.

Standing next to Lavrov after their meeting, Kerry said that the Assad regime and Islamic State are “symbiotic.”

But make no mistake, Kerry said – “anybody, please – Assad has cut his own deal with Daesh. They sell oil. He buys oil. They are symbiotic, not real enemies in this. And he has not, when he had a chance over four years, mounted his attacks against Daesh. The Daesh headquarters sat in Raqqa for years. It was never bombed by his bombs. It was children and women and hospitals and schools that were bombed by his bombs.”

“So that is the reality here. And I think for him to try to blame what happed in Paris on anybody other, particularly the West who is trying to save his country and save his people and who is the biggest single donor to the refugees that he has created in order to safeguard them, is beyond insanity. It’s insulting,“ Kerry added.

Something Huge Is About To Happen In Syria

Lebanese media reported yesterday that thousands of Iranian troops, Hezbollah fighters and other Shiite volunteers are amassing in the Latakia region in the coastal plain in Northern Syria. Among the Iranian troops are hundreds of members of the Al-Quds Brigades of the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC).

Their actions are overseen by General Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Al-Quds Brigades of the IRGC. This is the same man who was heavily involved in the build-up of Shiite militias in Iraq, and he is Iran’s point man on military actions outside Iran.

Suleimani was also behind the establishing of the P4+1 coalition that will now try to re-conquer areas that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army lost over the last year. In July, Suleimani traveled to Moscow for secret talks with Putin about the situation in Syria. Almost two months later, the first reports on the Russian intervention emerged.

Syrian activists posted photo evidence of Suleiman’s latest activities on social media this week. The general can be seen talking to a group of Iranian and Hezbollah fighters and delivering a speech to the troops in a forest in northern Syria. As Western Journalism reported earlier, the Iranian troops build-up in Syria began shortly after the Russian intervention and is said to include thousands of Shiite fighters from other countries such as Afghanistan.

קישור קבוע לתמונה המוטמעת

The Iranians are not the only ones who are flying in troops for an expected major ground offensive. Yesterday, it was confirmed that Cuba is also sending troops to man Russian tanks in Assad’s army. The Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies said that it had received information that the head of the Cuban Armed Forces, General Cintra Frias, had visited Syria recently.

A U.S. official confirmed the report and said that Cuban paramilitary and special forces units have arrived in Syria. An Arab officer also confirmed the presence of Cuban troops in Syria. He witnessed the arrival of two Russian planes with Cuban troops aboard at Damascus International Airport.

The British news site Express reported earlier that Vladimir Putin has dispatched the Spetsnaz elite unit of the Russian Army to Syria.

“The deployment of the Spetsnaz – the elite of the elite in Russia’s army who have to undergo a gruelling training programme to earn their stripes – is the latest example of the megalomaniac leader’s ruthless determination to shore up the rule of his close ally.

“It is especially significant because many of the men have a deep hatred of jihadis from their time fighting in Chechnya’s bloody civil war when Islamist fanatics battling for independence carried out frequent atrocities against Russian citizens,” Express reported.

Putin has also deployed “one of the deadliest weapons in its arsenal as part of their military action in Syria, according to reports. The mobile multiple rocket launcher – TOS-1A – features thermobaric weapons which can destroy eight city blocks in one strike, causing indiscriminate damage,” The Daily Mail in Great Britain reported.

Also on Wednesday, civilian flights to Latakia’s Bassel al-Assad International Airport were indefinitely suspended due to increasing activities by the Russain airforce that has built an air force base in the vicinity of the airport. Lebanese media reported an increase of sorties flown in Syria by Russian warplanes. Radio Sham in Syria reported that the suspension of civilian flights to Latakia will last for at least 90 days; flights will now be diverted to Damascus International Airport.

The Kuwaiti news site al-Rai reported that Russia will ramp up the airstrikes against Syrian rebel groups from an average of 60 per day to 200 or even 300 per day. The news site cited sources in the P4+1 war room who said that Russia is currently building a third air base in the region to enable the increase of sorties.

Russia began its air campaign in Syria on September 30 and carried out about 20 to 30 airstrikes per day at the time. The drastic increase of airstrikes is necessary to ensure success in the anticipated ground offensive in northern and western Syria.

Another significant development that indicates that the character of the war in Syria could change dramatically soon is the Russian decision to send its only heavy aircraft carrier to participate in the war. The Russian website Flashnord reported that the Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia’s only aircraft carrier, will sail from Murmansk to the shores of Syria.

The news site based its report on a source in the Russian Northern Fleet Command. The source said that the Kuznetsov will leave dock before the weekend and then go to the coast of Syria, where the ship will join the operation to destroy Islamic State, the source said.

The upcoming ground offensive, that Russia and Iran say will be directed against Islamic State, aims to consolidate Assad’s rule over Syria.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, was in Damascus on Wednesday to discuss the joint operation with the speaker of the Syrian parliament.

The first goal of the P4+1 ground forces will be to regain control over areas in the Homs and Hama region. After that, a major operation is expected to drive rebel groups out of the Idlib Province and Aleppo. Those are areas that are not under Islamic State control.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that the Russian forces in Syria have set up a hotline with the Israeli Air Force to avoid an inadvertent clash between Russian jets and Israeli warplanes in Syrian airspace.

US Official Makes Stunning Accusation Against Putin’s Military That Could Mean Big Danger

Russian military forces supporting the dictatorship in Syria have focused their firepower on destroying forces equipped and trained by the United States, Fox News reported on Wednesday.

Up to 150 CIA-trained rebels have been killed by the Russians, a U.S. official told Fox.

“Our guys are fighting for their lives,” he said.

The accusation comes as the U.S. and Russian military officers are conducting video conferences to ensure flight safety by the countries forces in Syrian airspace.

Although the Obama administration has ceased training moderate Syrian rebels, airdrop of supplies and ammuntion continue, Fox reported.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that “countering Russia’s involvement in Syria doesn’t rate nearly as high on the scale” as defeating ISIS.

Russia is not alone in its efforts to defend the Assad regime in Syria. Iran, Iranian-backed Hezbollah, and even possibly Cuba have all made contributions to Assad’s war effort, Fox reported.

Russia began bombing on Syria’s behalf on Sept. 30.

Two of the major players fighting against the Assad regime in Syria are avowed enemies of the United States: Al Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

However, according to the U.S. official interviewed by Fox News, Russia is not focusing the bulk of its airstrikes on ISIS but on American-allied forces. That would mean the United States and Russia are, in effect, fighting a proxy war in Syria.

The official stated: “They aren’t targeting (ISIS), so there is nothing to coordinate. The only role Russia can or should play in Syria is in assisting Assad to step aside. Everything else is counterproductive. They have been completely disingenuous about their desire to fight (ISIS).”

What do you think of Putin’s Russia targeting U.S.-trained rebels in Syria?