Krauthammer: Kobane Falling to ISIS Would Be a Huge Setback for The Good Guys

Fighting continued in Kobane, Syria Tuesday as the American led coalition carried out five air strikes around Kobane.  Kurdish fighters said the help  should have come much earlier.

Via the BBC:

Air strikes took centre stage today, apparently bringing the IS advance to a juddering halt. With jets overhead for long periods, IS clearly had to spend time under cover to avoid being hit. As a result, there was nothing like the intensity of fighting seen on Monday. At times, Kobane seemed eerily quiet.

Significantly, it seems the Kurdish defenders of Kobane are now communicating directly with US-led coalition forces. But air strikes alone may not be enough to stop IS taking Kobane in the long run. The Kurdish YPG militia claims to have the upper hand in street fighting, but it is outnumbered and outgunned by IS.

Only a ground operation, or significant military assistance from Turkey could carry any guarantee of success, and the prospects for this seem remote. Turkey’s conditions are not ones the US seems ready to accommodate.

The BBC’s Diplomatic Correspondent, Jonathan Marcus writes, “if Kobane falls it will be a serious set-back for the Kurds.”

But it will inevitably also raise fundamental questions about the scope and capacity of the US air campaign to combat IS, and about the diverse goals of the anti-IS coalition that the US has assembled.

Kobane, which is a small salient of land poking into Syrian territory, is in no sense an easy place to defend.


Many might wonder why US air power has not done more to stem the IS advance. Well for one thing the focus of what you might call US “tactical” strikes has been largely in Iraq. The air strikes in Syria have mainly been against IS command infrastructure and economic targets like oil installations.

Brigadier Ben Barry, the land warfare analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London notes that IS offensives typically begin with significant artillery preparation – several days of barrages from artillery, mortars, tanks and so on.

Attacking IS from the air however, is not easy. Their guns may be well camouflaged when not firing, and even rudimentary spotters can identify US aircraft in the vicinity.

Brigadier Barry says that the problems around Kobane illustrate “not so much the lack of a land component but the lack of any real ability to synchronise the air effort with what is taking place on the ground”.

“There is,” he says, “a powerful argument for having Western special forces on the ground in the forward air control role to help spot and guide aircraft to their targets.”

On Fox News’ Special Report with Brett Baier, Charles Krauthammer said, “it would be a tremendous, strategic, and symbolic victory if ISIS succeeds and right now it is.”

Via NRO:


“If this falls it’s going to be a huge setback for the United States and for any of the good guys on the ground in Syria or in Iraq.” Krauthammer continued to explain that U.S. air strikes constituted doing “practically nothing,” and called today’s five air strikes “utterly meaningless.” He added that the unserious American air campaign will have grave consequences for the Kurds, who are fighting to hold on to Kobane.

Oh and via White House Dossier – this is not encouraging, at all: Psaki: Let’s See, I’ve Got Those ISIS Successes Somewhere . . .


Weasel Zippers: CBS Poll: Only 32% Approve Of How Obama Is Handling ISIS Threat, Whopping 65% Disapprove…

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