President Obama’s Broad Coalition of One (Guest Post)

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With great fanfare and a nationwide, prime time presidential address to the American people, President Obama announced the formation of a “broad coalition” that would wage war together to destroy the Islamic State also known as ISIS or ISIL. Although few other details were given about the coalition, a senior administration official said on Wednesday “we are very confident that this will be a broad-based coalition with countries from the Arab world, from Europe, but also other key allies around the globe, like, for instance, Australia, which has joined us in humanitarian airdrops already in Iraq; or Canada, which has already put advisers on the ground.”

From President Obama’s “ISIL isn’t Islamic” speech:

“First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense. Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven. …

This is our strategy. And in each of these four parts of our strategy, America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners. Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq; sending arms and assistance to Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian opposition; sharing intelligence; and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid. Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity, and in the coming days he will travel across the Middle East and Europe to enlist more partners in this fight, especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria to drive these terrorists from their lands. This is American leadership at its best: we stand with people who fight for their own freedom”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel outlined some more of the possible participants. He suggested that a “core coalition” would include the United States, Britain, France, Australia, Canada, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark. The 10 Arab “frenemy” states that committed on Thursday to the fight against ISIS included the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. The new coalition also includes Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq. At the time of the publication of this article some 40 nations had supposedly joined this “broad coalition” to defeat ISIS. But does that mean anything other than the provision of some thin cover for a nation still perceived as Christian raining down death and destruction (complete with inevitable civilian casualties) on what are in fact, despite Obama’s protestations, Muslims?

But tough talk is often very cheap. It’s only been a few days and Obama’s “very significant counterterrorism operation” is already a disaster and falling apart before it ever got started.

In less than a day after Obama’s speech, both the UK and Germany (despite their earlier saber-rattling and tough guy talk) announced they have no interest in actually actively participating in any Obama led coalition to go after ISIS’ main bases of power in Syria. France has announced that they will not participate in any land or air actions at all. NATO member Turkey abstained from even pretending to join the anti-ISIS coalition and will not let the US use their airbases to attack ISIS targets in Syria. And now the Saudi’s probably won’t either.

What Obama will get from the Arab League and the others will be some supportive talk, perhaps a trickle of funds and arms to the locals, and that’s about it. When Bush invaded Iraq three other nations provided troops for the invasion and 37 other nations of the “Coalition of the Willing” provided ground troops for occupation and nation building attempts afterwards. In stark contrast to that, Obama’s “Broad Coalition” in the end will basically be a “Coalition of One” with a few local forces thrown into the mix. All led by a Commander-in-Chief who doesn’t want to fight, doesn’t want to be there, and known for walking away from ‘red lines.’ One can already sense this may not go well. Chances are he’ll screw around with this for a couple more years without really accomplishing too much and then hand it over to his successor to deal with. We’ll see and time will tell. I hope he proves me wrong.

What does this quick collapse of his coalition say about Obama’s strategic preparation? Did he even bother to check in with the Brits, French, and the Germans before pledging his “broad coalition of partners.” Apparently not. It would instead appear that The One simply assumed our European allies would quickly just fall in line with his newly proclaimed war on terror.

And what tactics does the President envision utilizing against The Islamic State? From the Washington Post:

“[Campaigns in Somalia and Yemen] have dragged on for years and involve far smaller and less-well-financed adversaries than the Islamic State. Although Obama promised a “steady, relentless effort” in a nationally televised address Wednesday night, he also said that “it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL,” using a common acronym for the Islamic State.

Such a mission was not the U.S. military’s preferred option. Responding to a White House request for options to confront the Islamic State, Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, said that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants, according to two U.S. military officials. The recommendation, conveyed to the White House by Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was cast aside in favor of options that did not involve U.S. ground forces in a front-line role, a step adamantly opposed by the White House. Instead, Obama had decided to send an additional 475 U.S. troops to assist Iraqi and ethnic Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment.

Recommitting ground combat forces to Iraq would have been highly controversial, and most likely would have been opposed by a substantial majority of Americans. But Austin’s predecessor, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, said the decision not to send ground troops poses serious risks to the mission.”

So, in effect, President Obama has rejected the “Afghan model” that was used to successfully drive the Taliban from power in 100 days. It consisted of front line Special forces and CIA paramilitaries calling in pinpoint US airstrikes on targets as they moved and worked in tandem with local opposition forces to defeat the enemy. It’s a devastating strategy that’s proven to be extremely effective in the past. What a shame. It’s how we really should wage war from now on. On top of that, an unnamed U.S. general also told WaPo the other day that defeating ISIS would be much harder than anything we’ve done in Afghanistan or Iraq. Great, just great.

If President Obama quickly waffles, loses interest, and walks away from this tough talking but shallow commitment as well, we can then rename it the “Broad Coalition of None.”

20 Responses to “President Obama’s Broad Coalition of One (Guest Post)”

  1. 1

    Common Sense

    Still waiting for Greggie to list the coalition countries 0-blama has!! Bush had 37 countries and support of over 70 Democrats and the liberal wackos called this going it alone!!

  2. 2

    Doramin

    Not to mention that the Iraqis are angry at not having been consulted about any foreign air forces overflying their territory, or the rest of these plans, apparently.

    Gang, let’s keep it ever foremost in our minds that what Obama intends is to do the barest minimum to keep the World off his back and let him enjoy himself for the next two-and-a-half years. While doing as little as he can to anger his hard-core leftist “base.”

    So far, he can’t or won’t even sing off the same sheet of music as his generals. It is nice to know that he’s willing to spare no effort or risk to put boots on the ground in the fight against Ebola, however.

  3. 3

    Nanny G

    Ten of the countries Obama wanted will only be doing humanitarian aid instead of taking out ISIS.
    It just so happens IKEA has already been doing more in humanitarian aid in the ISIS-striken areas than those ten countries are even promising to do!

  4. 4

    David

    What they do laud is the grand total of 160+ airstrikes since this all started back in early August, saying it reshaped the battle space to our advantage. All it has done is lead ISIS to exercise better concealment practices and limit their exposure in the open. If Obama was really serious, 160 strikes would have been flown on the first day, and double that number on the second day, since they were more fully exposed then.

  5. 5

    Pete

    When our politicians are more concerned with spewing the nonsense “ISIS is not islamic” rather than simply destroying ISIS as brutally, completely and quickly as possible to show ANY jihadist group what they can expect if they decide to attack the US, there will be no good result for the US.

    We are wasting national resources for a leftist political effort at pretending to be military leaders while accomplishing absolutely nothing of any benefit.

    Listened to Kerry’s speech…what a moron.

  6. 6

    Skook

    Why should our former allies trust Obama?

    With his special ROEs to make sure that fanatics who have a change of heart can walk off the battlefield with no questions to fight another day.

    Don’t forget, ISIL is the ugly baby of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Obama loves the MB. Look up how many times they have been guests at the WH.

  7. 7

    oil guy from Alberta

    3000 boots on the ground to fight viruses. No boots to follow airstrikes. Seems backward to me. Since when has the US Army and /or Special Forces attacked viruses. Chemical troops are trained for retaliation of substances banned by the Geneva Conventions. Looks like security details with the troops dressed in Hazmat suits. Is it a waste of time and money? One Unesco doc said the main infestation is over. Who knows?

  8. 8

    Nanny G

    @oil guy from Alberta: Is it a waste of time and money? One Unesco doc said the main infestation is over. Who knows?

    Country after country is closing its borders to keep ebola from moving in.
    Senegal, Congo, Dem Rep Congo, and more tried this only to end up with at least a case.
    A Saudi man died of it AFTER returning from West Africa.
    I had read that some are considering ”writing off” a few of these countries and not even trying to help the people in them.
    With an incubation rate (symptom free) of up to 21 days people who seem fine can spread it through travel.
    Our men going to Africa are probably only going to be protecting doctors, meds and care centers.
    Without soldiers these would be mobbed and all would be lost.

    80% of the West African’s income goes to food.
    80% of the population has no plumbing (yeah, they ”go” outside) and only a central tap of tepid water.
    Cleanliness is hard to come by.
    Other diseases are prevalent besides ebola.
    There are affected countries with 1 or 2 doctors for every 100,000 people.

  9. 10

    oil guy from Alberta

    Your Precedent is cynical and very self serving. What a great method to defang and weaken your military. Disease!
    What a great method to continue attacking your Constitution. Elections cancelled due to a pandemic. Scary thoughts, but possible.

  10. 12

    Common+Sense

    @John: It was less than that when our POTUS said if you like your health insurance and/or doctor you can keep them “period”!! As far as dissent yes, 80+ Democrats in the House did exactly what your saying about neocons!! Also Democrats in the Senate as well!! Maybe before you act like a complete idiot you should review your history!! As far as dissent it was wacko liberals who did just what your saying!!

  11. 13

    Common+Sense

    @John: You forget how wackos like you for 8 years screamed at President Bush about Iraq and how he somehow lied to America!! Talk about aiding the enemy you Ahole!! Remember when Bush went into Iraq he declared a War got approval by the House and Senate including 70+ Democrats who looked at the same information Bush had!! Are you stupid enough to believe anyone knew that the War would last as long or cost as much as it did?? If you say yes then I will here and now declare you a liar!! Then when the surge was successful your Black Messiah runs for office and promises to pull troops at his designated date. He did and NOW we have ISIS in the region and all of the efforts of our brave shoulders has turned to crap because of your failed President. No dissent just fact!!

  12. 14

    Greg

    But tough talk is often very cheap. It’s only been a few days and Obama’s “very significant counterterrorism operation” is already a disaster and falling apart before it ever got started.

    Evidently it’s far from falling apart. As it turns out, Obama’s coalition actually includes more than one.

    From FOX News: US, Arab allies launch first wave of strikes in Syria:

    “U.S. officials said that said the airstrikes began around 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and were conducted by the U.S., Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. ”

    The accompanying video states that FOX News has confirmed four of those Arab nations directly participated in the airstrikes in Syria. U.S. airstrikes against ISIL targets in Iraq now number over 200.

    Here’s an unconfirmed video of a U.S. airstrike on ISIL in Raqqa recorded during the early hours of September 23rd, local Syrian time.

  13. 15

    FMB42

    0Muslim said that he’d end the war in Iraq. This is now proven to be yet another broken promise from the dishonest duffer in chief.

    One of the few few truthful things 0Muslim has said is that “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” Well, 0Muslim has intentionally shifted the political winds in an ugly direction and is now standing with his fellow Muslims.

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