Thursday, December 8, 2016

Airstrikes

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French President Francois Hollande promised a “pitiless” war against ISIS, after they killed upwards of 140 people in Paris on Friday.

Looks like he’s making good on that promise.

On Sunday, ten French fighter jets took off from allied bases in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. They dropped twenty bombs and decimated key terrorist targets in Raqqa, Syria, the de facto capital city of the Islamic State.

Since the targets were located in crowded downtown neighborhoods, it’s not entirely clear how much of Raqqa has been destroyed. Civilian casualties were not reported.

France had been an ally and a major player in the war against ISIS, but had so far largely confined its bombing to ISIS forces in Iraq, rather than Syria. They were apparently concerned that, by bombing Syria, they risked strengthening the hand of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a vicious dictator who is also at war with ISIS.

After the attacks that shook the world, however, Hollande and France have decided to go for the kill. The United States was more than happy to oblige: the American military shared its plans and targets in advance of France’s air strikes.

The Paris attacks—where gunman with assault rifles popped up across the city, including in a crowded nightclub—is the first major terrorist attack outside the Middle East to be confirmed by ISIS. It’s raised concerns that the brutal terrorist organization, which has since been content to conquer land in Iraq and Syria, may have global ambitions. And it’s clear that the West isn’t ready.

The attacks have also shaken up the United States presidential race. The second Democratic Party debate, which aired in a graveyard slot on Saturday night, was hastily changed to include a focus on foreign affairs and terrorism.

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