On Monday September 22nd 2014, the United States has launched its first attack on the ISIS group in Syria. ISIS or ISIL as some, including the president of the United States, refer to it as, is a terrorist group located mostly in Syria and Iraq. The group is trying to establish the Islamic State or a Caliphate, as they stated in June of this year. This separates them from other terror groups because they have publicly stated their end goal.
One of the big reasons for US attacks on the group is the beheading of Americans. ISIS has beheaded 2 American journalists so far after they were taken prisoner in 2012: James Foley, who was killed in late August of 2014, and Steven Sotloff, who was killed in September of 2014.
President Obama has stated many times that the attack on the group will not include any ground forces, and so far that is true. The US has conducted air attacks on them so far including fighter jets and Tomahawk cruise missiles. Early reports from the United States say that the airstrikes have been successful thus far.
How much territory does ISIS really have? More than you might think. ISIS has control of almost every major town in Northern Syria and also major towns in Western Iraq.
One of the main targets of these attacks are oil refineries that are held by the ISIS group. The Associated Press released a report stating that the group earns some 3 million dollars a day from selling the oil that comes from these refineries. Countries like Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Iran are some of the major consumers of the oil. The thought of the US is that if the refineries are hit, the cash flow may be hurt, and the group may start to weaken.
Besides the airstrikes, the US is also training fighters. The President wants to arm Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. This is a risky process because the US is training moderate rebels in the region, and its very easy for something like this to backfire on us.
But not everyone is on the same side with Obama with just wanting air attacks. A recent poll from CBS News shows that 44% of Americans want to send in ground forces, up from 39% just one month before; while 50% of American oppose sending in troops, which is down from 55% before. Now, of course no one wants to put American lives in danger, but some argue that the airstrikes will not do enough and ground troops are necessary. John Boehner, the House Speaker, says that the United States may have “no choice” but to send in ground troops to fight ISIS.