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The RAF (pictured above is one of our wonderful Eurofighter Typhoon jets) has been bombing ISIS for several weeks now, shedding hundreds if not thousands of munitions, many of them the most advanced of their kind in the world. What has been achieved? Precious little is the answer.
This is not the fault of our pilots, nor of our equipment (the Typhoon is a quite brilliant design). Rather it is due to a fault inherent in the war itself; in the strategy of aerial war against Islamic State. Airstrikes alone will achieve no lasting or substantial result. It won’t even hinder IS to the point of paralyzing its capabilities to expand (which is surely a major objective). We need a deployment of troops; be they from a Western coalition or a combined Arab-American force.
Despite a prolonged and expensive deployment of missiles and bombs, ISIS remains defiantly active. Though the Iraqis are (at last) making modest progress in Anbar Province, this was never the centre of ISIS power and so its amputation will be survived. To defeat the monster decisively means an invasion of Syria by allied forces.
The terrorists are perceptibly weakening. But to be shot of them entirely requires moving in and mopping up.