Revenge attacks: How effective is striking back against ISIS?

revenge attacks

[Read full article on Al-Arabiya]

Late afternoon on November 24, four French fighter jets launched from aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the eastern Mediterranean. Their mission was to hit ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq, in revenge attacks for the group’s assault in Paris 11 days earlier that killed 130 people.

Over the course of the next five hours, the warplanes would release 20 missiles on a command centre and training facility belonging to ISIS near the town of Tal Afar in northeast Iraq, the French defense ministry reported.

Since the simultaneous attacks on the French capital this month, France has stepped up its commitment to the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS — but analysts say that these revenge attacks may not be enough to eradicate the militant group.

“ISIS has France on a hook because Hollande said [the Paris attack] was an act of war,” says Dr. Edwin Bakker, Director of the Center for Terrorism and Counterterrorism of Leiden University in The Hague. “You don’t sit at home and say this is an act of war. No, you have to do something,” he adds.

The arrival of the French flagship in the eastern Mediterranean this week has more than tripled the number of strike aircraft available to fly missions over Iraq and Syria. Since September 19, 2014, 12 French jets have conducted just over 285 strikes on ISIS targets from bases in Jordan and the UAE. And with the Charles de Gaulle carrier’s 18 Rafael M multirole fighter jets, eight Super Étendard carrier strike jets and assorted reconnaissance and support aircraft, the total number of strike aircraft available to the French mission now lies at 38. According to the French defence ministry, the aircraft have struck 35 ISIS targets since November 13.

“It has become an automatic response to ‘terrorist attacks’ to step up the number and intensity of airstrikes,” explains Dr. Reinoud Leenders, a Middle East expert in the War Studies department of King’s College London.

“But, if you look at the actual number of sorties, we’re talking about just scores of French strikes since the Paris attacks. This already says something about the impact these fresh strikes can have — as in, very little,” explains Leenders.

Whether this number will climb sharply now that the Charles de Gaulle has increased capacity for bombardment is unclear but questionable says Leenders.

“It makes a political difference, the U.S. is less lonely in skies over Syria but militarily it doesn’t do much. 75% or more of airstrikes are still done by the U.S. It’s not a capability issue, it’s a targeting issue and political issue.”

Operation Inherent Resolve, the American-led coalition to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS, began launching airstrikes in Syria and Iraq over a year ago in response to the militant group’s atrocities in both nations…

[Read full article on Al-Arabiya]

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Tags: airforce, Al Arabiya, coalition, Europe, France, France attack, freelance, Iraq, Paris, Paris attack, Security, syria, UK, UN, and violence.