Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Coalition Accumulates

For imagery, it is good to have Arab planes along for the ride, but air power is the military area we least need assistance.

So on balance this is good:

Several Arab countries have offered to carry out airstrikes against militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a senior State Department official said Sunday. ...

American officials said that the communiqué should be interpreted as meaning that some, but not all, of the 10 Arab countries would play a role in the military effort.

Most will likely provide fuel and basing rights. Others may fly in arms to help the Iraqi government and Kurdish regional forces. Others may fly recon missions.

Some will shoot. The United Arab Emirates, which recently bombed jihadi targets in Libya by flying from Egyptian bases is one likely candidate.

Saudi Arabia is another. They have lots of modern planes. But they have few decent pilots. Yet by mobilizing the foreign maintenance people to support foreign pilots and the relatively few Saudi pilots capable of flying and fighting, a "Saudi" effort will likely be part of the war.

If "several" means "three" I'd guess that Jordan is the third country. We already have troops on the ground there, and Jordan's military is decent by regional standards.

I'll also guess that some of these Arab states will send special forces to Iraq to fight ISIL and support the air campaign, as many did during the Afghanistan campaign.