A series of unidentified explosions around Iraq have triggered a political reaction that might affect how American and coalition warfighters destroy the remnants of the Islamic State (ISIS).
From now on, the Iraqi government and military will review the air tasking order on a daily basis to determine which air missions will be greenlighted. The new Rules of Engagement (ROEs) will mainly affect pre-planned strikes, resupply and transport, and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) flights. Those responsible for the U.S. and coalition air tasking will have to furnish the Iraqi with detailed information regarding the air missions, to include flight path, type of aircraft, payload, target, and mission.
The spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, Army Colonel Myles Caggins III, said in a statement that “the process we have in place does not increase the risk of compromise for our operations.”
Thankfully, U.S. and coalition units that are in dire straits will not be affected by the new air support ROEs. Elements that are in need of Close Air Support (CAS) or Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) will receive them following the previous ROEs and will not to get pre-approval for these assets.
“We continue to coordinate closely with Iraqis on our mission to ensure the enduring defeat of Daesh,” added Col. Caggins. Daesh is a derogatory term used to describe the fraying terrorist organization which threaten to upend the whole status quo in the Middle East. “That mission has not changed. The support we provide from the air through intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, strike, and other capabilities has been a key part of our efforts to enable the Iraqi Security Forces.”
The decision by the Iraqi government to tighten the lease when it comes to airstrikes by third parties comes in the wake of a series of unaccountable attacks across the Middle Eastern country. The latest took place on August 12, when an explosion in weapons storage facility wounded a large number of civilians. Members of the Iraqi government and of the Iraqi press have accused Israel of being the perpetrator behind these attacks, the rationale being that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) is targeting known weapons facilities that fall under Iranian influence, thereby posing a direct threat to Israel.
The Iraqi government threatened to shoot down any unauthorized or non-compliant aircraft. It’s worth noting that both IAF and the Iraqi Air Force operate American-made aircraft.
Although ISIS has been officially declared as defeated, die-hard terrorists still roam the region making it anything but safe.