Obama’s “Humanitarian” Bombing Campaign “Against” the Islamic State (ISIS)

Obama’s “Humanitarian” Bombing Campaign “Against” the Islamic State (ISIS)


By: Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Date: 2016-06-27

Almost 2 years ago, August 8, 2014, Obama launched a bombing campaign against Syria and Iraq, in defiance of international law. 

The US Air Force with the support of a coalition of 19 countries has relentlessly waged an intensified air campaign against Syria and Iraq allegedly targeting  the Islamic State (ISIS) brigades.   

The counterterrorism operation was granted a humanitarian R2P mandate: at the outset, the bombing campaign was allegedly directed against the Islamic State mercenaries (ISIS) with a view to protecting the Yazidis of Northern Iraq. 


Obama: A Pack of Lies

According to Obama, military action was needed to protect innocent civilians and prevent ISIS’ advance on Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region. 

In his Nationwide address on August 7, 2014, Obama also intimated the need to send in US ground troops:

Good evening. Today I authorized two operations in Iraq — targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death. Let me explain the actions we’re taking and why…. We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide. That’s what we’re doing on that mountain.

I’ve, therefore, authorized targeted airstrikes, if necessary, to help forces in Iraq as they fight to break the siege of Mount Sinjar and protect the civilians trapped there. …


Earlier this week, one Iraqi in the area cried to the world, “There is no one coming to help.” Well today, America is coming to help. We’re also consulting with other countries — and the United Nations — who have called for action to address this humanitarian crisis. (emphasis added)

US Sponsored Genocide. 

The humanitarian pretext is bogus, the air strikes are illegal, extensive war crimes have been committed, Obama is not protecting civilians. The civilian deaths resulting from the air strikes are deliberate. And Obama says America is “responsibly preventing a potential act of genocide.

Washington is Providing Support to Al Qaeda entities which are Fighting the Syrian Government

The unspoken objective of the US-led coalition is to PROTECT the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL Daesh) and other Al Qaeda affiliated groups which in large part are responsible for the destruction and killings of civilians.  In this regard, DoD documents (excerpt below) confirm unequivocally the US mandate to support rather than fight Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists. 


DoD documents

The air strikes have largely targeted civilian infrastructure. The unspoken mandate is to destroy both Iraq and Syria, their infrastructure, institutions and their economy.

Since the onset of Obama’s war against the ISIS,  according to official DoD figures, the US-led coalition has “flown an estimated 91,821 sorties in support of operations in Iraq and Syria.” (August 8, 2014-April 1, 2016) Ironically, only a small fraction of these sorties were  strike sorties:  a total of 12,685 strikes (8,661 Iraq / 4,024 Syria) (August 8, 2014-June 1st 2016). The majority of the strike sorties were conducted by the U.S. air force.

  • U.S. has conducted 9,663 strikes in Iraq and Syria (5,876 Iraq / 3,787 Syria)
  • Rest of Coalition has conducted 3,022 strikes in Iraq and Syria (2,785 Iraq / 237 Syria)

There is evidence that a large number of these sorties has been geared towards supplying the ISIS with weapons and ammunition, etc.

The ratio of strike sorties to total sorties (13.8%) is unusually low. In Libya in 2011, NATO flew 26,500 sorties since officially taking charge of of the Libya mission on 31 March 2011. More than 50% of the sorties were strike sorties (over 3,000 targets hit in 14,202 strike sorties).

The US-led coalition’s stated objectives are summarized below:

Next Plays in the Counter-ISIL Campaign: Stabilize Iraq's Anbar Province; Generate Iraqui Security Forces to envelope Mosul; Identify and develop more local forces in Syria that will isolate and pressure Raqqah; Provide more firepower, sustainment, and logistical support to our partners to enable them to collapse ISIL's control over Mosul and Raqqah

The countries that have participated in the strikes include: 

  • In Iraq: (1) Australia, (2) Belgium, (3) Canada, (4) Denmark, (5) France, (6) Jordan, (7) The Netherlands, and (8) UK
  • In Syria: (1) Australia, (2) Bahrain, (3) Canada, (4) France, (5) Jordan, (6) The Netherlands, (7) Saudi Arabia, (8) Turkey (9) UAE and (10) UK

Source: Operation Inherent Resolve, Report, US Department of Defense, June 2016

War is Good for Business

As of May 15, 2016, the total cost of the air campaign directed against the Islamic State (ISIS-ISIL, Daesh) initiated on August 8, 2014, is of the order of $7.5 billion. This amount is financed by the US and its allies by public funds which could have been allocated to much needed social programs.

The average  average daily cost is $11.7 million for 647 days of operations. 

And this is only one among several military operations conducted by the US and its allies.

According to DoD figures, the balance sheet of destruction consists of 26,000 targets, including more than 6000 “ISIS buildings”. The term “ISIS buildings” is a fake concept. Those buildings (including residential areas) are part of the civilian infrastructure of Iraq and Syria. The number of  targets struck suggests an intense bombing campaign, resulting in countless deaths and atrocities. The ISIS has not only been spared, America’s allies including Saudi Arabia,Turkey and Israel have facilitated the influx of new ISIS and Al Nusrah military recruits.

Targets Damaged/Destroyed as of May 31, 2016

Tanks: 143; HMMWV's: 382; Staging Areas: 1,627; Buildings: 6,545; Fighting Positions: 7,824; Oil Infrastructure: 1,620; Other Targets: 8,233; Total: 26,374

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