Good news from Kobani

I’ve offered mostly criticism, and only very occasional praise, for President Obama’s campaign against ISIS. I just haven’t been able to see how the president’s campaign is likely to destroy or seriously degrade the Islamist barbarians.

I’m happy to report, however, that the campaign may have prevented the fall of beleaguered Kobani, at least for now. Local officials say that ISIS has been forced to withdraw from several neighborhoods, due in part to intensified bombing by “coalition forces.”

According to John Brennan at NRO, the Pentagon attributes the increased bombing to improved ability to coordinate with Kurdish fighters on the ground and to the massing of ISIS troops in or near Kobani where they can be targeted. I suspect that a greater sense of urgency (perhaps resulting in part from political considerations) may also have played a part. In any event, the stepped up campaign is welcome news.

Brennan also reports that U.S. aircraft have dropped weapons, ammunition, and medical supplies to help the Kurdish forces in Kobani. These materials were supplied by the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq.

This development is welcome too. In the past, we have been unwilling to arm Turkish Kurds despite the fact that they are, as Brennan says, some of the most pro-Western, secular, and effective forces in Syria.

It’s way too early to declare victory over ISIS in Kobani. But an imminent defeat, the prospect of which appears finally sparked the Obama administration into serious action, just might have been avoided.


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