U.S. planes bomb Islamic militant artillery in Iraq

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(Getty Images)

(CNN) — Two American F/A-18 aircraft dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a “mobile artillery piece” used by ISIS on Friday at about 3:45 a.m. PDT, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

ISIS was using the artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending Irbil, Iraq, where U.S. personnel are located, he said. The commander of U.S. Central Command made the decision to strike under authorization granted him by President Barack Obama, Kirby said.

President Barack Obama’s decision to authorize airstrikes escalated American military involvement in Iraq, a country he tried to get out of more than two years ago.

While the administration adamantly reassures Americans that it won’t put U.S. boots on the ground, it also has made a compelling case for going after the ISIS threat.

  1. Signs of genocide

Obama and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights talk of potential genocide and crimes against humanity if ISIS fighters slaughter minority groups fleeing them in the north.

In particular, tens of thousands of Yazidis, a religious minority in the north, have fled into mountains where they lack food and services and remain vulnerable to the ISIS rampage.

“Convert to Islam or die” is the ISIS ultimatum, as given to Christians when the group overran that minority’s largest city, Qaraqosh.

A senior U.S. administration said ISIS backs up its threat by beheading people with differing religious convictions and putting the heads on spikes to terrorize others.

The Islamic State’s sweep of carnage has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, especially from Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul. In addition, thousands of Yazidi families are stranded, and two U.S. military cargo planes airdropped 5,300 gallons of water and 8,000 meals to them Thursday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned that the Islamic State’s “grotesque and targeted acts of violence bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide.”

  1. Protect U.S. interests and personnel

“We do whatever is necessary to protect our people,” Obama said Thursday night in announcing his authorization of airstrikes. “We support our allies when they’re in danger.”

Those two principles sum up the reasons for what he did.

There are hundreds of military personnel in Iraq, many of them advisers sent to work with Iraqi and Kurdish military officials in response to the ISIS threat.

Dozens of them are in Irbil, the largest city of the Kurdish region, which has been one of the most stable regions in Iraq and a cooperative U.S. partner. U.S. consular staff are there with them.

Friday’s initial airstrikes hit the Islamic State’s artillery outside Irbil.

Kurdish officials say their fighting force, the Peshmerga, can hold off an ISIS advance, but the militants have weapons taken from Iraqi forces in areas they’ve already overrun.

  1. Take on the extremists

Obama continues pushing for a political solution in Iraq, saying U.S. military action can’t solve the conflict.

But when asked why the United States was not evacuating American personnel, a senior administration official said the United States has the wherewithal to protect them and prefers instead to “lay down a marker” before the Islamic State.

Hawkish critics in Washington agree the United States doesn’t want another war in Iraq, but they say America can do more.

“Degrade ISIS” was the dictum from Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “It is inherently expansionist and must be stopped.”

They suggest a take-it-to-them formula: Arm all partners who fight the Islamic State, including in Syria, and bomb their leaders, troops and positions, including in Syria.

The Obama administration has pushed for Iraqis to form a new government more representative of Iraq’s Sunni Muslims than currently exists under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Many disaffected Sunni Muslim have joined the Islamic State.

Then the White House wants Iraqi military forces to handle the threat.


  • Rohinton Irani

    By The Grace of Ahura Mazda

    Well until last night I never have heard of The Yazidi's ?,and then I start reading that thier Roots are from Zoroastrianism ?

    Well as a Zoroastrian,It didn't suprise me,since ZOROASTRIANISM is The OLDEST MONOTHEISTIC RELIGON !……Yes Virginia : Even OLDER than Judaism !

    The Religon of The PERSIAN EMPIRE for over 1,100 + Years !…..The Religon of The Great Persian KINGS ! : CYRUS ! DARIUS ! XEREXES ! SHAPUR !

    Furthermore Zoroastrianism,has ALSO INFLUENCED The 3 Major Current Religon's : Especially Judaism !,as far as thier Foundation !

    Unfortunately,Thanks to that ( alleged ? ) ' Peaceful ' Religon know as Islam.

    There are less than 250,000 ZOROASTRIAN left in te World !

    Thanks to over 1,100+ YEARS of SYSTEMATIC GENOCIDE ! at The End of Islam's SWORD ! in Persia.

    Which is why Our Cousin's ' The Parsis ',had to Flee Persia to India,to Save our Religon,and Race !

    Due to the Countless MASSACERS ! in Persia,in the 9th Century !

    I've said this before,and I'll say this AGAIN ! : If you want to know just how ' Peaceful ' ? Islam is. ?

    Go READ THe History bettween The ZOROASTRIANS,and The Muslims !

    Better yet,If your to Lazy to READ ?…..Well then WATCH this short Documentary,and WAKE UP and EDUCATE yourself ! :

  • Guest

    The War Monkey is going to send the boots back to Iraq, Ukraine, Syria, China and other places all over the map!

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