Scott Lucas writes: Wednesday morning’s statement from US Central Command was — unsurprisingly — buoyant. The US and allies from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and Jordan had launched attacks the previous day inside Syria, with 14 airstrikes and 47 Tomahawk missiles. Multiple targets of the Islamic State had been hit in northern and eastern Syria, including “fighters, training compounds, headquarters and command and control facilities, storage facilities, a finance center, supply trucks, and armed vehicles”.
Central Command promised, “The U.S. military will continue to conduct targeted airstrikes against ISIL in Syria and Iraq as local forces go on the offensive against this terrorist group.”
Behind the confident assessment, Central Command did not point to — and presumably did not recognize — reality: with those initial strikes, the US had probably already lost its belated intervention in the 42-month Syrian conflict.
The military did not mention that the greatest casualties of the first night’s attacks had not been suffered by the Islamic State, which had moved most of its forces before the arrival of the warplanes. Instead, the US had struck hardest on two locations of the Islamist insurgents Jabhat al-Nusra, killing more than 70 fighters and civilians in Idlib and Aleppo Provinces. [Continue reading…]