Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Iraq / Syria Regional War Updates ( October 7 , 2014 ) - Airstrikes near Kobane - not sure whether they are having major impact yet ..... Iraq Clears Aussie Troops for ISIS Ground War PM Ruled Out Any Foreign Troops in Iraq Only Last Week ...... US Helicopter Strikes Against ISIS Increase Shootdown Risk Low-Flying Apache Helicopters Could Be Easy Targets
Australian officials familiar with the situation say that the approximately 200 troops will be “bolstering local forces on the ground,” and that part of their mission will be spotting for US airstrikes.
The terms of the agreement with Iraq were not made public, but officials say that the troops were given needed legal cover in case they end up killing Iraqi civilians in the course of the conflict.
According to multiple reports coming out of Iraq today, US warplanes attacked the town of Hit in Anbar Province, a town recently taken over by ISIS. But the airstrikes hit a crowded marketplace and nearby apartment buildings, killing 22 civilians and wounding 43 others.
The target appears to have been an error, with reports that an ISIS meeting was going on in a building just down the street from the one attacked. It is the first major civilian death tollin Iraq from US strikes in the new war.
Security sources in Anbar Provinces also reported an increase in civilian displacement from Hit, with hundreds of families fleeing because of the “intensification of the bombing of airplanes” as well as mortar strikes on the town.
The lack of decent intelligence on what the US is actually hitting in airstrikes is likely to give way to more such incidents in the weeks, months, and years to come, as officials continue to ratchet up the air war.
On Sunday, the Pentagon had announced that its air war against ISIS in Iraq was now including attacks by AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, operating out of the Baghdad airport and carrying Hellfire and other missiles.
The big difference, rather, is that the Apaches are far more likely to be shot down by ISIS, flying at much lower altitudes more readily reached by the shoulder-fired missiles ISIS is awash in, provided to target Syrian helicopters doing the exact same thing
The eventuality of such a shootdown is likely to mean US ground troops sent on rescue missions to try to recover the downed pilots. This could end up being the pretext for launching a ground operation against ISIS, and such an incident seems only a matter of time.