‘Boots in the air’: U.S. helicopters return to combat in Iraq for first time


#1

IRBIL, IRAQ — The United States sent attack helicopters into combat against Islamic State targets west of Baghdad on Sunday, the first time low-flying Army aircraft have been committed to fighting in an engagement that the Obama administration officials has promised would not include “boots on the ground.”

The U.S. Central Command, in a statement about U.S. activities against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, provided few specifics about the helicopters. But they were likely AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, which were deployed to Baghdad International Airport in June to provide protection for U.S. military and diplomatic facilities.

Until Sunday, U.S. airstrikes in Iraq have been limited to fast-moving Air Force and Navy fighter aircraft and drones. But the use of the relatively slow-flying helicopters represents an escalation of American military involvement and is a sign that the security situation in Iraq’s Anbar province is deteriorating. Last week, the Islamic State militants overran numerous Iraqi bases and towns and were becoming a widespread presence in Abu Ghraib, the last major town outside of Baghdad’s western suburbs.

Read more here: mcclatchydc.com/2014/10/05/242220_us-helicopters-pressed-into-combat.html?sp=/99/117/&rh=1#storylink=cpy

My guess is that they are bringing in the Apaches because they carry the Longbow missile which is a small fire and forget missile that allows a quick attack on multiple targets without someone holding a laser on the target for a prolong period of time (the missile uses it’s own radar.) However helicopters are prone to mechanical problems and are much slower (so easier to shoot down) than jet fighters. This is definitely mission creep (or at least combat platform creep.)


#2

From what I hear there is a Brigade HQ on the way soon.


#3

We all have to Pray for all the Pilots of the forces trying to bring these evil forces under control, especially the helicopter pilots.

Anyone reading this could you please join me in saying an Our Father or and a Hail Mary that these Pilots will reach home safely to there loved ones.


#4

It would seem that the air campaign as it has been carried out has been successful in curtailing the forward progress of ISIL, but not as successful at rooting ISIL out of previously held territory.

Helicopters are a next step.


#5

Obama really does need the approval of the American people and Congress if he ever does want to take this any further down to the ground.

And the American people really will need to be sold on the idea of the step down to the ground, which Obama probably does not have the ability to sell.


#6

The Kurds needed the support in Kobani and unfortunately are about to lose that town. They need the choppers in both Syria and Iraq.

Islamic State militants continued to shell the town of Kobani on the Syrian-Turkish border yesterday, apparently undeterred by US-led airstrikes on their positions overnight.
The besieged settlement, populated mostly by Kurds, has been ringed by Islamic State (Isis) forces on three sides and pounded mercilessly by tank rounds and mortar fire. Yesterday the Kurds struck back when a woman suicide bomber, named on social media as Arin Mirkan, blew herself up at an Isis position on the town’s eastern fringe

google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB8QqQIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fworld%2F2014%2Foct%2F05%2Fair-strikes-isis-not-working-syrian-kurds&ei=8TwyVP2JCcKiyASIyoCADg&usg=AFQjCNF6V_XH9WNYcKcDsQI0hxLjVlb7Jw&sig2=fO4v6g8sg983PhBukxVyig&bvm=bv.76802529,d.b2U

US-led air strikes in northern Syria have failed to interrupt the advance of Islamic State (Isis) fighters closing in on a key city on the Turkish border, raising questions about the western strategy for defeating the jihadi movement.

Almost two weeks after the Pentagon extended its aerial campaign from Iraq to neighbouring Syria in an attempt to take on Isis militants in their desert strongholds, Kurdish fighters said the bombing campaign was having little impact in driving them back.

google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCEQqQIwAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thetimes.co.uk%2Ftto%2Fnews%2Fworld%2Fmiddleeast%2Farticle4227831.ece&ei=8TwyVP2JCcKiyASIyoCADg&usg=AFQjCNGuSrcIE5JMVX4rVI7ac33piJBSuA&sig2=-M3hzxcDBdb48TjHyMKNmQ

They are having trouble with retreat out due to snipers.

Baghdad better but not good either…

While ISIS worked to make gains in the Anbar province over the past few weeks, the militant group also increased the number of attacks on the capital in September. Many of the attacks were suicide bombings but at least two attacks used indirect fire, according to reports from local media. If the reports are true, they could indicate that the militants are able to attack Baghdad from afar, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

A diplomat in Irbil told McClatchy that ISIS had “captured substantial numbers of 155 mm howitzers.” The artillery has about a 20 km range.

Meanwhile, ISIS continued their advance in Anbar. On Saturday the group seized Kubaisa, another town near the province’s capital. Fighters reportedly disguised themselves as residents from the nearby town Hit which ISIS captured two days ago. Controlling Kubaisa will give militants room to launch attacks near the Haditha Dam, the second-largest generator of hydroelectricity in Iraq’s power system.

The Iraqi army is now defending the dam and certain other areas in Anbar that the militants have not seized. However, according to the ISW, if militants manage to consolidate land in Anbar, they will be ready to move on to Baghdad.

“If ISIS can consolidate its core strength in Anbar, then its reinforcements that are currently augmenting attacks in this zone will likely shift to reinforce the northern and southern Baghdad Belts,” the report said. “And prepare to attack the capital.”

google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCEQqQIwAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ibtimes.com%2Fisis-close-enough-attack-baghdad-islamic-state-operating-abu-ghraib-mcclatchy-report-1699498&ei=yD4yVLyTItewyASKgoKIBg&usg=AFQjCNHQhLqOebOuCZBwNtQZtTy5DiBESg&sig2=BEKOOzLIu1KDGxbWpr005w

Problematic


#7

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