Kampf gegen ISIS: USA wollen mehr Luftschläge und mehr Aktivität am Boden


Die USA wollen ihre Strategie im Kampf gegen die islamistischen ISIS-Milizen im Irak und in Syrien umstellen und dafür die Zahl der Luftschläge erhöhen – aber auch mit direkten Aktionen, vermutlich Spezialkräften, am Boden vorgehen. Den veränderten Ansatz machte US-Verteidigungsminister Ashton Carter am (heutigen) Dienstag in einer Stellungnahme vor dem Verteidigungsausschuss des US-Senats deutlich. Das Ziel: gather momentum, übersetzt etwa: wieder vorgeben, wo es langgeht.

Die wesentlichen Punkte aus Carters Statement:

The changes we’re pursuing can be described by what I call the “three R’s” – Raqqa, Ramadi, and Raids. Before I explain what they mean, let me also note that I took actions to streamline command-and-control of the counter-ISIL military campaign by assigning the entire effort to a single general officer, Lieutenant General Sean MacFarland, where in the urgency of the early phase of the campaign last year several layers were added to the general officer already present in Iraq.

The first R is Raqqa, ISIL’s stronghold and administrative capital. We have been clear for some time that we need to keep up pressure on Raqqa, and that to that end we will support moderate Syrian forces fighting ISIL that have made territorial gains near Raqqa – indeed, some of them are within 30 miles of Raqqa today. The Syrian Arab Coalition, which we plan to strengthen through our new equipping approach – more on that in a moment – will work over time with other Syrian anti-ISIL forces to push towards Raqqa. To the south, we plan to further strengthen our partner, Jordan. And from the skies above, we expect to intensify our air campaign, including with additional U.S. and coalition aircraft, to target ISIL with a higher and heavier rate of strikes. This will include more strikes against ISIL high-value targets as our intelligence improves; also its oil enterprise, which is a critical pillar of ISIL’s financial infrastructure. As I said last Friday, we’ve already begun to ramp up these deliberate strikes. (…)
The second “R” is Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, which serves as a critical example of the Abadi government’s commitment to work with local Sunni communities with our help to retake and hold ground from ISIL and in turn to build momentum to eventually go northward to Mosul.
Under Prime Minister Abadi’s leadership, the Iraqis have begun to use American-made F-16s to support counter-ISIL operations, and have empowered capable battlefield commanders to step forward. As we see more progress towards assembling capable and motivated Iraqi forces under Baghdad’s control and including Sunni elements, we are willing to continue to provide more enabling capabilities and fire support to help them succeed. However, the Iraqi government and security forces will have to take certain steps militarily to make sure our progress sticks. (…)
The third and final “R” is raids, signaling that we won’t hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL, or conducting such missions directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground. Last week’s rescue operation was led by Iraqi Kurdish forces, with U.S. advisers in support. (…)  While our mission in Iraq is to train, advise, and assist our Iraqi partners, in situations such as that operation – where we have actionable intelligence and a capable partner force – we want to support our partners and we will.

Die ganze Stellungnahme hier.

Entscheidend wird natürlich die Umsetzung, und da kommt es auf die Details an. Zum Beispiel die angekündigten Luftangriffe auf ISIS-Hochwertziele – recht oft ist in den Lagemeldungen der US-geführten Operation Inherent Resolve von Luftschlägen gegen einzelne Fahrzeuge die Rede, mehr jedenfalls als von Angriffen auf strategisch bedeutsame Stellungen.

Deutschland ist auch Mitglied der Anti-ISIS-Allianz, und Verteidigungsministerin Ursula von der Leyen besucht in diesen Tagen die kurdischen Peshmerga-Kämpfer im Irak. Dort sagte sie den Kurden zwar weitere Unterstützung zu; was das im Einzelnen bedeutet, ist allerdings noch nicht so klar. Bereits vor Wochen erklärte die Bundesregierung, es werde geprüft, was an Waffen und Ausrüstung an die Kurden noch weiter geliefert werden könne. Was die Waffen angeht, scheint nach wie vor keine Entscheidung gefallen.

Nachtrag 28. Oktober: Reuters hat ein paar zusätzliche Informationen:

Two U.S. officials, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing deliberations, said any deployments would be narrowly tailored, seeking to advance specific, limited military objectives in both Iraq and Syria.That option includes temporarily deploying some U.S. special operations forces inside of Syria to advise moderate Syrian opposition fighters for the first time and, potentially, to help call in U.S. air strikes, one official said.Other possibilities including sending a small number of Apache attack helicopters, and U.S. forces to operate them, to Iraq, as well as taking steps to bolster other Iraqi capabilities needed to claw back territory from Islamic State.


(Foto: Carter vor dem Senate Armed Services Committee – DoD photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz)