Someone is taking Peter Quinn seriously. You recall that ISIS blew up a Russian airplane and murdered scores of Russian civilians a few weeks ago.
Now, an Israeli intelligence source reports that Russia is exacting swift retribution. It is turning Raqqa, the capital of the ISIS caliphate, into rubble. Somehow American news media do not seem to be giving the story very much attention.
Russia has launched a merciless blanket air campaign, backed by Kalibr cruise missiles fired from the Caspian and Mediterranean Seas, for the object of wiping the Islamic State’s Syrian center of Raqqa off the map, DEBKAfile’s military sources report.
Western and Middle East sources tracking the campaign since Friday, Nov. 20, report that at least 75 air sorties have been conducted and are systematically razing the town of 200,000 inhabitants 160km east of Aleppo, district by district, irrespective of civilian town dwellers.
Moscow wants the entire Middle East and Muslim world to see the price exacted for launching a terrorist attack on Russia after the downing of the Metrojet airliner that killed 224 people over Egyptian Sinai on Oct. 31. Russian bombers and cruise missiles rained death and destruction on the ISIS administration center after the jihadists claimed responsibility for that disaster and published photos of a soft drink can claimed to have been rigged as a bomb for blowing the plane up.
When the Russians are done, the town will be a pile of rubble, an intelligence source told DEBKAfile.
In the meantime, American pilots have been kept on a very short leash by the Obama administration. You see, our cowardly commander in chief will only allow us to bomb ISIS targets when they are certain that there will be no, that is, zero civilian casualties. ISIS knows that it can protect itself from American bombs by using human shields.
The Washington Free Beacon has the story:
U.S. military pilots who have returned from the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq are confirming that they were blocked from dropping 75 percent of their ordnance on terror targets because they could not get clearance to launch a strike, according to a leading member of Congress.
Strikes against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) targets are often blocked due to an Obama administration policy to prevent civilian deaths and collateral damage, according to Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The policy is being blamed for allowing Islamic State militants to gain strength across Iraq and continue waging terrorist strikes throughout the region and beyond, according to Royce and former military leaders who spoke Wednesday about flaws in the U.S. campaign to combat the Islamic State.
“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,” Royce said. “I don’t understand this strategy at all because this is what has allowed ISIS the advantage and ability to recruit.”
Unless the purpose is to allow ISIS the advantage and ability to recruit. Or better, let’s say that the intention does not really matter. Let’s say that the outcome defines the intention… because responsibility is not necessarily a function of intention.