A squadron of United Arab Emirates F-16 fighters is stationed at one of Jordan’s air bases to support strikes against the Islamic State on Feb 8,… View Enlarged Image
War On Terror: The United Arab Emirates resumed bombing runs against IS in solidarity with Jordan, which has united under King Abdullah to destroy it. That’s leadership. It’s obvious that this is what the war has lacked.
In the same week that President Obama’s defense department changed its war objective to merely “defeat” Islamic State instead of the more decisive “destroy” it, the king of Jordan vowed to fight the terrorists “until we run out of fuel and bullets.”
Then he made good on his word. He sent his jets to blow apart IS targets, racking up what Jordan said were 7,000 kills since the ghastly murder of its pilot, Muath al-Kaseasbeh, by Islamic State.
That sacrifice and heroism was what drew the United Arab Emirates back to the fight this weekend. Since December, it quietly stood on the sidelines as the the Obama administration failed to protect its pilots and then encouraged Iran-backed militias to act as ground troops in the war — a policy that would guarantee Iran’s dominance over Arab lands once IS was defeated.
Jordan changed the equation, its actions enough for the UAE to send a squadron of its F-16s to the country so that its pilots could fly side by side with their Jordanian counterparts, adding resources and a higher level of training to the goal of destroying — not just “defeating” — these terrorists.
The UAE was “reaffirming its unwavering and constant solidarity with Jordan,” its state news agency said.
So if Jordan’s ordeal and impressive response was enough to bring the UAE back to battle, it raises the question whether President Obama is the real obstacle toward any end to the war against Islamic State.
It’s not just the Emirates rallying around Jordan. Israel, according to official news agency Haaretz, has sent drones to help Jordan scope out terrorist nests to destroy. That’s significant because President Obama had denied Jordan these tools months earlier.
Egypt, too, is providing significant moral support and intelligence to the Jordanians, its leaders fiercely sharing the same goal of destroying these terrorists.
Even in Russia-menaced Eastern Europe, the Czech Republic this week will bestow King Abdullah with its Order of the White Lion, its highest state decoration, in appreciation for the king’s resolution and bravery against terrorism as well as his broad call to Arab countries to unite to defeat the plague.
It all amounts to a message to the White House about its war, which up until now has had no goal, no plan for victory, no admission that the war is about Islam, and no plan to get anywhere.
The king lacks none of those things. In an interview last December with Charlie Rose, he was adamant that the war was a moral one, and thus, worth expending blood and treasure on. “This is clearly a fight between good and evil,” he told Rose.
He also emphasized it was about Islam. Expressing contempt at the term “moderate” Muslim, he said: “I am a Muslim. I don’t know what these people are,” a powerful statement, given that the Arab world knows he’s a direct descendent of Mohammed.
In saying that, he effectively attacked IS as a moral force, which is its chief recruitment tool.
You can bet he wouldn’t have given Osama bin Laden an Islamic burial, or Gitmo’s finest four choices of halal meals. To him, they aren’t Muslims, they’re enemies.
Sadly, there is no such awareness in the Obama camp.
What’s more, he very clearly articulated the goals of the war: that material victory was just the short-term goal. Security for the nations in the region was the midterm goal, he told Rose. And long term, the goal was ideological, the battle for the soul of Islam.
That’s enough of a plan to bring the Emirates back as an ally. But the question remains: How many potential allies are being kept out by the lack of leadership from the U.S.?
Does anyone really want to expend resources on a war with no goal, no strategy, no moral mission and not even the right tactics? And if that’s the case, is Obama the chief obstacle to victory over Islamic State?