"Airstrikes against the jihadists calling themselves the Islamic State may make Americans and Europeans feel good. The U.S. will project an image of protecting beleaguered Christians and other minorities while taking down a dangerous terrorist organization. But the reality is different," said Jamsheed Choksy, professor of Central Eurasian studies, Middle Eastern and Islamic studies and history at IU Bloomington.
"U.S. bombing of Islamic State strongholds inside Iraq, even if those strikes are extended into Syria, is unlikely to have lasting impact against that organization -- just as years of drone strikes against the Taliban and al-Qaida in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere have failed to end those groups' territorial control and ideological appeal," Choksy added.
"Indeed, Islamic State spokesmen taunt the U.S. for not engaging their jihadists in man-to-man combat and pray for their flag to fly over the White House. Yet, while U.S. aerial attacks may not kill off the Islamic State, those militants now face yet another powerful opponent to their continued expansion and will certainly find their resources degraded.
"Their ability to strike beyond the Middle East may decline, but nonetheless their role in the Syrian civil war will drag on and certainly bolster jihadists in Iraq's civil war too. And, as witnessed elsewhere, such groups are able to ride out considerable military punishment and come back more virulent than ever."
Choksy can be reached at 317-989-4178 or firstname.lastname@example.org