Striking Turkey’s Ataturk Havalimani International Airport June 28, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] massacred 41 travelers, injuring 239, with automatic rifle fire and three suicide bombings. Turkish officials can’t explain how ISIS terrorists managed to get AK-47s and ammo through metal detectors at the entrance of the airport. Like the Brussels International Airport ISIS attack March 22 that killed 32, the attack lashes out at Turkey at the height of Turkey’s tourist season. Turkey’s suffered at least five attacks since October 2015, the worst happening in Ankara Oct. 14, 2015, killing 103 civilians, injuring 400. Despite the ISIS onslaught, 62-year-old Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has done little militarily to go after ISIS, preferring instead to blame the Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK], Turkey’s old nemesis, for trying to create an independent Kurdish state.
ISIS keeps the West on its heels, sponsoring a variety of lone wolf attacks, like the June 12 Orlando, Florida slaughter where a single radicalized ISIS terrorist killed 50 at the Pulse gay nightclub. When ISIS struck Paris Oct. 13, 2015 killing 137, injuring 368, French President Francois Hollande promised a harsh response, something that never happened. When Obama promised to “degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS” Sept. 10, 2014, he announced a U.S. bombing campaign designed to defeat a growing terrorist menace, capturing 30% of Iraq and Syria. Nearly two years later, ISIS continues to lash out with impunity, despite coalition efforts, outlined June 28 by Special Envoy Brett McGurk in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Obama’s pre-Sept. 11 mindset of prosecuting the Iraq and Syrian wars through local surrogates has not stopped ISIS from executing terrorist attacks.
Yesterday’s massacre at the Ataturk Airport mirrors Erdogan’s reluctance to go directly after ISIS militarily, preferring to strike the Kurdish Protection Units [YPG] along the Turkish border. When Erdogan authorized downing a SU-24 Russian fighter jet Nov. 24, 2016 allegedly in Turkish air space, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Erdogan to running an illicit ISIS oil business. Erdogan demanded Putin prove the allegations, rumored as a business run by Erdogan’s son Bilal, shuttling oil from Mosul into Turkey. Erdogan never denied that his son Bilal runs an oil business, ferrying ISIS oil into Turkey. Whatever the truth behind allegations, Erdogan, like Obama, has no military plan to defeat ISIS. Today’s global ISIS terror attacks stem from granting the group safe haven in Iraq, Syria and Libya. McGurk was questioned several times June 28 about the slow pace of defeating ISIS.
No one in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including 63-year-old Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), asked McGurk about the U.S. position of backing Saudi Arabia’s proxy war in Syria to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Toppling al-Assad is the same goal as ISIS and al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front. Whatever Obama’s current objectives in Syria, it’s not to use U.S. ground troops to accelerate ISIS’s defeat. Obama sent April 24 an additional 250 U.S. advisors to Syria, bringing the total to 300. With the role of training Kurdish and Syrian opposition forces in Syria, there’s still no U.S. ground troops to accelerate ISIS’s defeat. Obama’s strategy of supporting local Sunni or Kurdish forces isn’t enough to rid ISIS of its defacto capital in Raqqa. Watching the massacre in the Ataturk Airport reminds Obama and Erdogan to stop messing around with ISIS.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has long advocated ground troops in Iraq and Syria to defeat ISIS. Obama’s refusal to prosecute the war with more force, including committing more air assets and U.S. ground troops, has left ISIS planning terrorist attacks in the U.S. and Europe. “We stand with the people of Turkey and we intend to do what’s necessary to ensure these kinds of terrible events are not happening,” said Barack today, offering more empty rhetoric of what must be done to defeat ISIS. Obama has been too busy backing the Saudi proxy war to topple al-Assad to redouble efforts to defeat ISIS in Syria or Iraq. ISIS terrorist attacks in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere won’t stop until the U.S. takes the battle to the enemy. Had Obama followed McCain’s strategy two years ago, ISIS wouldn’t be hitting more Western targets today.
Talk of “standing with the people of Turkey” is no substitute for having a coherent military strategy for the world’s most lethal terrorist group. “It’s an indication of how little these vicious organizations have to offer beyond killing innocents,” said Barack, repeating the same platitudes that left the U.S. and Europe vulnerable to more ISIS attacks. Yesterday’s carnage at Ataturk Airport is a wake-up call that today’s slow-moving strategy against ISIS has emboldened more terrorist acts. When former President George W. Bush launched Operation Enduring Freedom Oct. 7, 2001, it denied Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden his safe have in Afghanistan. Driving ISIS out of Raqqa and Mosul would have prevented the kind of terrorist attacks seen today in the U.S. and Europe. Letting ISIS flourish since grabbing 30% of Iraq and Syria in 2014 invited today’s carnage.