Via the New York Times:
American fighter jets and armed Predator and Reaper drones, flying alongside warplanes from several Arab allies, struck a broad array of targets in territory controlled by the militants, known as the Islamic State. American defense officials said the targets included weapons supplies, depots, barracks and buildings the militants use for command and control. Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from United States Navy ships in the region.
The strikes are a major turning point in President Obama’s war against the Islamic State and open up a risky new stage of the American military campaign. Until now, the administration had bombed Islamic State targets only in Iraq, and had suggested it would be weeks if not months before the start of a bombing campaign against Islamic State targets in Syria.
Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates took part in the strikes, American officials said, although the Arab governments were not expected to announce their participation until later Tuesday. The new coalition’s makeup is significant because the United States was able to recruit Sunni governments to take action against the Sunni militants of the Islamic State. The operation also unites the squabbling states of the Persian Gulf.
The strikes came less than two weeks after Mr. Obama announced in an address to the nation that he was authorizing an expansion of the military campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
Apparently the White House did let Syria know they were going to do this before the strikes began. According to Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC, Syria welcomes this move because ISIS is the biggest threat to the Assad regime. So we’re helping the guy who we were working with the rebels to overthrow. The enemy of my enemy, etc.
Of course ISIS will hit back. There will be more executions of hostages on YouTube and calls for attacks on the U.S. and anyone else that participated in the airstrikes, and as I noted earlier, anyone who thinks this will be a cakewalk needs to go sit with Dick Cheney in the depths of Isengard.
I’m no military expert, but this does not sound like a short-term mission, nor will it be accomplished without some ground forces going in. Who is it going to be? The Kurds? The Syrian rebels? Lindsay Graham and John McCain? Stay tuned.