The Obama administration is moving rapidly towards launching air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border, in a major escalation of US military intervention in the oil-rich Middle East.
Reports indicate that the initial form of such attacks is likely to be drone-fired missiles aimed at Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and other leaders of ISIS, on the model of those already carried out in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
“For weeks, the US military’s Central Command, which oversees Middle East operations, has advocated a more expansive, near-term air campaign targeting Islamic State commanders, equipment and military positions that US intelligence has pinpointed in Iraq,” the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, quoting one top official’s mantra: “Hunt while the hunting’s good.”
The drive to war is a measure of the crisis facing US imperialism in the Middle East, after a quarter century of escalating intervention, characterized by the combination of recklessness and brutality that is the particular specialty of the American ruling class.
While increasingly apocalyptic administration comments and media headlines declare ISIS to be a deadly threat to the United States, there has been virtually no acknowledgement that the crisis in the Middle East is the direct product of the repeated US interventions.
Through war, occupation and CIA-backed regime-change operations, the American ruling class has created a social and political catastrophe, while stoking sectarian conflict and civil war. More immediately, the US directly aided, armed and trained Syrian “rebel” fighters who went on to form the core of ISIS, seeking to deploy them to overthrow the Assad government there.