by Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | February 8, 2015 9:18 am
After last week’s barbaric execution of a Jordanian pilot who was burned alive, the King of Jordan is vowing shock and awe against ISIS. I believe he will give it everything he’s got, but it won’t be enough. Military equipment is very, very expensive to get and maintain. The U.S. is already giving Jordan $1 billion in economic and military aid this year, and has signed an agreement with Jordan boosting security assistance by up to $400 million a year through 2017. But Obama has refused to give them drones and vital military equipment that could actually go towards defeating ISIS and the clock is ticking. Since Obama’s sympathies lie with Islamic extremists, I believe he wants to see Jordan fall and he may very well get his way. Jordan is being forced to use ineffective bombing campaigns, either putting many civilians or their pilots at risk and they will have a very limited success against ISIS.
Jordan has released a video montage showing the kickoff of its retaliatory air campaign against ISIS in Syria. Over 20 Jordanian F-16s struck ISIS targets while US F-22s, F-16s, surveillance and tanker aircraft supported them. Although the idea of such a campaign represents a powerful show of force, the video hints at a much grimmer and more questionable story.
Beyond the messages written on bombs and the noses of Jordan’s second-hand F-16 fleet, most making declarations against ISIS’s ideology as well as proclamations of vengeance, what was most noticeable in the video was all the dumb bombs (Mk82, Mk83, Mk84) loaded onto the aircraft. In other words, few jets appeared to have precision guided munitions loaded onto their weapons stations, and those that did were equipped only with a pair of relatively small and older, but still effective, GBU-12 laser guided bombs, which are more suited for taking out small buildings and vehicles than large fixed structures.
Even when deployed from an advanced fighter jet with digital avionics, dumb bombs are much more accurate the lower they are released. As the altitude of their release increases so does their Circular Error Probability (CEP), in quite a drastic manner. Using this method of weapons delivery from over 15k feet, above most man portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and anti-aircraft fire, makes hitting individual structures very problematic. One way to overcome this issue is to throw more sorties at each target, but for each attack made the risk to aircrew making follow-on attacks increases. In fact, every extra minute over enemy territory increases the risk to aircrews. Additionally, and even more importantly, these bombs end up exploding somewhere regardless of if that somewhere is playground or an ammunition dump full of enemy fighters and their use greatly increases the chances of unintended causalities.
Then there is the question of the target list itself that Jordan pursued on Thursday. After months of bombing, and even the use of American F-22s in an offensive strike role, why do targets remain on a list that are so large Jordanian F-16s can go after them using unguided weaponry? At this point in the game how are there any targets on that list at all? The answer may be much more damning for the U.S., which leads the anti-ISIS coalition operating over Iraq and Syria, than for Jordan, as any sustained air campaign that is many months old should have wiped out all of ISIS’s fixed targets early on, with new and time sensitive ones being dealt with on a very consistent basis. This is especially true considering that ISIS does not possess an integrated air defense system or any aerial defenses at all beyond shoulder-fired missiles.
If the U.S. is in fact dragging its feet when it comes to striking ISIS targets deep inside Syria then the whole operation needs to be questioned. If this is not the case and these are just new targets acquired from recent intelligence, then how are they magically low enough of a priority to have Jordanian F-16 pilots slinging dumb bombs at them? Or if they are not new, but are of such a low priority that they were not even worth hitting with precision weapons by coalition forces long ago, then why on earth are we risking Jordanian and American air crews on them at all? If ‘optics’ is the answer then Washington has some serious explaining to do.
As I have said from the beginning, Obama seems to have no strategic plan to defeat ISIS. He is bombing targets that have little to no effect. The US definitely has some explaining to do here. I personally do not believe that Obama has any intention of defeating ISIS. He supports the Caliphate and those that will rule it. The entire anti-ISIS operation as a whole is rigged for failure. There has been a lot of big talk by Obama and others on how ISIS needs to be defeated, but there is no really plausible strategy for victory, yet alone the resources available needed to realize it when it comes to Jordan. King Abdullah came to DC hat in hand to plead with Obama for more military help and all he left with was his hat and faux assurances.
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