Monday, May 18, 2015

It's about time - Boaz Bismuth



by Boaz Bismuth

In addition to the benefit of the death of an enemy, a targeted killing also has an important psychological impact. The leaders of terrorist groups must know they are never safe, even deep inside their home bases. Israel has long understood the positive attributes of targeted killings, and it has been criticized for its use of the successful tactic. Saturday's raid proved that Israel is not the only country to use of such methods. The world should remember that the next time Israel carries one out.

U.S. Delta Force commandos killed a senior Islamic State group official on Syrian soil on Saturday in an operation worthy of praise. The raid raised a number of questions. Was it a one-off thing or was it an indication of a new U.S. pattern of behavior toward terrorist operatives in Syria? Also, despite the denials, was there intelligence cooperation with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad?

It was about time that the U.S. began conducting operations on the ground in Syria. The battles in Palmyra and Ramadi in recent days have shown that Islamic State is in pretty good shape, despite the airstrikes carried out by the U.S. and its coalition partners. It has not just survived the strikes, it is still on the offensive and seizing lands. 

In addition to the benefit of the death of an enemy, a targeted killing also has an important psychological impact. The leaders of terrorist groups must know they are never safe, even deep inside their home bases. Israel has long understood the positive attributes of targeted killings, and it has been criticized for its use of the successful tactic. Saturday's raid proved that Israel is not the only country to use of such methods. The world should remember that the next time Israel carries one out. 

The American operation on Saturday was rare enough that it drew much attention in the U.S. There were some debates on American media outlets about the level of importance of Abu Sayyaf, but the rank of the targeted individual is not the issue here. Rather, the message and the precedent were what were of significance. The U.S. demonstrated its military capabilities (which were already known), as well as its intelligence prowess. This is important, because while Sayyaf will certainly be replaced quickly, his successor will know that danger lurks both in the air and on the ground.

In the operation, a number of other Islamic State fighters were killed, and Sayyaf's wife was captured. She also had a role in the group. The wives of Islamic State members are far from being innocent bystanders. It is astounding to think that young European women are flying to Turkey to join an organization that turns "heretic" women into sex slaves.

It is a shame that U.S. President Barack Obama did not use the international support he had in September 2013 to launch a military strike against the Syrian regime. Of course, there was the fear that the downfall of Assad would leave Syria in the hands of terrorists. But now, almost two years later, we are stuck with both Assad's terrorist regime and Islamic State.

Obama failed in Syria. Islamic State is close to capturing Ramadi (close to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad) and is threatening to destroy the ancient city of Palmyra (about 130 miles northeast of Damascus). 

In the third century, Palmyra managed to survive a Persian invasion. I do not want to believe that almost 2,000 years later, the Americans are relying on the Persians (i.e. the Iranians) to prevent the destruction of Palmyra by Islamic State.


Boaz Bismuth

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=12601

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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