KONFRONTASI- France first country to join US airstrikes on Islamic State. France is back at America’s side in conducting military strikes in Iraq.. This is not going to accomplish much, and with the Americans arming Free Syrian Army jihadis against Islamic State jihadis, when the two groups have worked together, not much is going to be accomplished in this entire endeavor.
“France becomes 1st country to join US airstrikes on Islamic State group in Iraq,” by Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press, September 19, 2014:
More than a decade after spurning President George W. Bush’s war against Saddam Hussein, France on Friday became the first country to join U.S. forces pounding targets inside Iraq from the air in recent weeks — this time in pursuit of militants of the Islamic State group.
Flying from the United Arab Emirates, two French Rafale jets fired four laser-guided bombs to destroy a weapons and fuel depot outside the northern city of Mosul, part of the territory the militants have overrun in Iraq and neighbouring Syria, officials said.
An Iraqi military spokesman said dozens of extremist fighters were killed in the strikes. A French military official said a damage assessment had not been completed, while showing reporters aerial images of targets hit. Officials said it was at a former military installation seized by the group.
One analyst said the French action was more symbolic than substantive — France’s military means in the region are limited — but it could give political cover for other allies to join in and show that the U.S. is not acting alone in a country still sown with deadly violence 11 years after Saddam’s ouster.
“We are facing throat-cutters,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council that was called to show support for Iraq’s government in battling the militants. “They rape, crucify and decapitate. They use cruelty as a means of propaganda. Their aim is to erase borders and to eradicate the rule of law and civil society.”
For all his political and economic troubles at home, French President Francois Hollande has again showed he will use force to fight Islamic militants to help a beleaguered government.
Other such operations in Iraq would continue in coming days, Hollande said, “with the same goal — to weaken this terrorist organization and come to the aid of the Iraqi authorities.”
“In no case will there be French troops on the ground: This is only about planes that, in liaison with Iraqi authorities (and) in co-ordination with our allies, will allow for a weakening of the terrorist organization,” he said….
At Friday prayers in the Iraqi holy city of Karbala, a representative for the most revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, said foreign help in the fight against the Islamic State group should not lead to a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.
“The international efforts on this regard should not be used as a pretext to allow the foreigners to control the course of events in Iraq, especially in the military field,” Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbalaie said. “It is true that Iraq is in need for the help of brothers and friends in combating the black terrorism, yet safeguarding its sovereignty and independence should be highly considered. This should be taken care of.”…(Robert Spencer Sep 19, 2014 at 9:57pm France, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, United States)