U.S. and Arab Allies Strike ISIS and Newly-Hyped Khorasan Group In Syria

The United States conducted airstrikes in Syria Monday night, along with five Arab nations. According to U.S. Central Command, conducted 14 strikes on ISIS targets, while U.S. forces alone conducted an additional eight strikes against the Khorasan Group, an Al Qaeda offshoot that was plotting imminent attacks “against the United States and Western interests.”

Nations including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates participated in the strikes on ISIS targets in Raqqa, which included Tomahawk missile strikes from U.S. warships. The navy has released several videos of those Tomahawk launches, including this one:

Not to nitpick, but maybe we could carry out our next airstrikes with missiles that have a less racist name? The Washington Redskins are bad enough, but these things are flying off to kill people.

The Khorasan Group has, over the past several days, been hyped as a bigger threat to the U.S. than ISIS in hype that has come seemingly out of nowhere from U.S. officials. The group is led by Muhsin al-Fadhli, and is said to be more focused on attacking the U.S. using hard-to-detect explosives and recruits who hold western passports. Given the airstrikes overnight, the timing of this PR offensive against Khorasan makes sense, but while their motives and intent seem clear, the group’s capabilities aren’t. Efforts at using harder-to-detect explosives like PETN have thus far been effective at panicking people, but mainly only successful at blowing one guy’s dick off. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be killing the crap out of these guys, I’m just saying it might not be time to head for your doomsday bunker just yet. The point here is to get them before they get their shit together.

The strikes also come as President Obama prepares to travel to the United Nations General Assembly to gather international support for the fight against ISIS. The president will make a statement on the airstrikes at 10 am on the South Lawn of the White House, just prior to his departure. His remarks are only open to pooled press, so he won’t be taking questions, other than those that might be shouted by the odd pooler.

The Centcom website keeps crashing due to traffic, so here’s the full text of their press release:

US Military, Partner Nations Conduct Airstrikes Against ISIL in Syria

TAMPA, Fla. (NNS) — U.S. military forces and partner nations, including the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, undertook military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria overnight, using a mix of fighter, bomber, remotely piloted aircraft and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles to conduct 14 strikes against ISIL targets.

The strikes destroyed or damaged multiple ISIL targets in the vicinity of Ar Raqqah, Dayr az Zawr, Al Hasakah, and Abu Kamal and included ISIL fighters, training compounds, headquarters and command and control facilities, storage facilities, a finance center, supply trucks and armed vehicles.

To conduct these strikes, the United States employed 47 TLAMs launched from USS Arleigh Burke and USS Philippine Sea operating from international waters in the Red Sea and North Arabian Gulf, as well as U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps fighter, remotely piloted and bomber aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. In addition, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates also participated in or supported the airstrikes against ISIL targets. All aircraft safely exited the strike areas.

Also, in Iraq yesterday, U.S. military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists, using attack aircraft to conduct four airstrikes. The airstrikes destroyed two ISIL Humvees, an ISIL armed vehicle and an ISIL fighting position southwest of Kirkuk. All aircraft exited the strike areas safely. To date, U.S. Central Command has conducted a total of 194 airstrikes across Iraq against ISIL.

The United States conducted these strikes as part of the President’s comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL. Going forward, 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.

Separately, the United States has also taken action to disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests conducted by a network of seasoned al-Qa’ida veterans – sometimes referred to as the Khorasan Group – who have established a safe haven in Syria to develop external attacks, construct and test improvised explosive devices and recruit Westerners to conduct operations. These strikes were undertaken only by U.S. assets.

In total, U.S. Central Command conducted eight strikes against Khorasan Group targets west of Aleppo to include training camps, an explosives and munitions production facility, a communication building and command and control facilities.