Britain, Germany: We won’t take part in Syria air strikes

posted at 10:41 am on September 11, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Last night, Barack Obama promised America that he would take the fight to ISIS/ISIL, using a four-pronged strategy that he laid out in his much-anticipated war speech. In each phase of this strategy, Obama insisted, we would be “joined by a broad coalition of partners,” emphases mine:

First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense. Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven. …

This is our strategy. And in each of these four parts of our strategy, America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners. Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq; sending arms and assistance to Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian opposition; sharing intelligence; and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid. Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity, and in the coming days he will travel across the Middle East and Europe to enlist more partners in this fight, especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria to drive these terrorists from their lands. This is American leadership at its best: we stand with people who fight for their own freedom; and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity.

How broad? Well, at least on Phase One, our closest strategic ally is saying no thanks:

Britain’s foreign secretary says his country won’t participate in airstrikes on Syria, following an announcement from Washington that it would begin hitting targets inside the country.

Speaking Thursday after talks with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Philip Hammond said Britain won’t be “revisiting” the issue after Parliament decided last year against participating in airstrikes.

For that matter, Germany has also demurred from Phase One as it relates to striking ISIS in Syria:

The foreign ministers of Germany and Britain said on Thursday they would not be taking part in air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State militant group.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told a news conference in Berlin that Germany has not been asked to take part in the air strikes and would not be participating. “To quite clear, we have not been asked to do so and neither will we do so,” Steinmeier said.

I’m old enough to remember when not having France in the coalition was enough to discredit George W. Bush’s “coalition of the willing.” France has been at many times a balky ally, but Germany has been more consonant with American policy — and the UK practically our twin on global security. This sounds like a NATO split, which would come at a very bad time indeed for Europe as it faces a resurgent and aggressive Russian threat.

More to the point, though, what does this say about Obama’s strategic preparation? Did he bother to check in with the Brits and the Germans before pledging his “broad coalition of partners” last night? It would appear not, and that Obama just assumed that they would follow whatever plan he laid out last night. Obama could have framed the Syrian phase separately as a uniquely American security concern and set expectations properly. Instead, it looks as though Obama and his political team wrote a speech without building the necessary commitment from allies to allow them to be part of a united front on global security.

And what does that say about the rest of Obama’s claims in the speech?

Of course, the Arab League pledged to confront ISIS militarily, financially, and economically, and could provide Obama with some claim to a “broad coalition” — assuming that they can be counted on to do more than talk. John Kerry is in Saudi Arabia pitching for more assistance today:

U.S. and Arab diplomats moved swiftly Thursday to rally military and financial backing for a wider international assault against Islamic State militants.

Following up on President Obama’s call to arms against the network that has laid claim to a third of the territory of Iraq and Syria, Secretary of State John F. Kerry was meeting here with diplomats from across the Middle East.

The group is considering expanded military help such as more bases for airstrikes and new Arab training initiatives for Syrian rebels fighting the Islamists as well as Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

The Saudis wanted the air strikes on Assad last year, and got angry when the US balked at the plan. Now we’re bombing ISIS rather than Assad, but Kerry still wants a quid pro quo, and will likely get something. But if he’s hoping for boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria to fight against ISIS, Kerry’s likely to come away disappointed, and boots on the ground is what will be needed to “roll back” the gains made by ISIS, another pledge in Obama’s speech last night.


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Comment pages: 1 2

what does that say about the rest of Obama’s claims in the speech?

Um, that he’s a lying liar who lies.

Syzygy on September 11, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Schadenfreude

Bmore on September 11, 2014 at 11:49 AM

This is what happens when you have a crooked Chicago politician run foreign policy as if it were ward politics.

GarandFan on September 11, 2014 at 11:50 AM

That’s what you get for sending back Churchill’s bust after the 2008 election…

Payback is a bitch…

PatriotRider on September 11, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Who’s we, Kemo Sabe?/the Left. – OldEnglish on September 11, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Give it rest OldEnglish. I didn’t vote for Obama.

SC.Charlie on September 11, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Slightly off topic and slightly wonkish, but from a analytical/statistical point of view, last night’s speech was 14 minutes long, of which 4 or more minutes was stock campaign speech material at the end (which was bizarre on its own), leaving 10 minutes for his main topic – declaration of war kinetic action you pushed us we’re pushing you against non-muslim muslims.

In comparison, every question Obama has answered in every official press conferences seems to have lasted at least 10 minutes (if only for the purpose to reduce the number of potentially difficult questions, as if the MSM would actually ask them). This was the best he could do? Seems to me, he was still in vacay mode: pop in for a few minutes, say a few words and then head out to the golf course. Imagine his chagrin when he found out it was 9 p.m. after the national address and the courses were all closed.

parke on September 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

I, me, mine is not a coalition.

Flange on September 11, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Unless the coalition is from Liverpool!

Del Dolemonte on September 11, 2014 at 12:08 PM

We trained the Iraq army for 8 years and they ran away from ISIS……

And spent billions on the training. The minute things got sticky, they stripped off their uniforms and ran away.

They’ll do it again.

When will we learn?

WhirledPeas on September 11, 2014 at 12:12 PM

I can understand why they don’t want to take part. Britain isn’t in a position to do much, and Germany is still stinging from the crapping obama has continuously laid on their heads, including the spying business.

I don’t think they are needed anyway. What is needed is for the arabs to freaking GROW UP and start eliminating these extremists and striving for peace, otherwise they are going to lose it ALL.

If the world is ever going to even come close to having peace, the extremists need to be confronted and probably killed. At the same time, these governments around the world have to drop their dictatorial fascism.

Tall order for a world so full of leftist turds.

Diluculo on September 11, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Did he bother to check in with the Brits and the Germans before pledging his “broad coalition of partners” last night?

Obama’s words are meaningless.
Nothing new.

lynncgb on September 11, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Unless the coalition is from Liverpool!

Del Dolemonte on September 11, 2014 at 12:08 PM

This coalition is more Fab 5 Freddy than Fab Four.

Flange on September 11, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Unless the coalition is from Liverpool!

Del Dolemonte on September 11, 2014 at 12:08 PM

This coalition is more Fab 5 Freddy than Fab Four.

Flange on September 11, 2014 at 12:18 PM

More like Freddie and The Dreamers

Del Dolemonte on September 11, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Maybe Obama could send an iPod full of his speeches to ISIS. They might surrender.

faraway on September 11, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Well if he talked with Merkel and Cameron then promised them a lifetime job with the city along with a generous pension…………..Oh gee forgot this stuff is National

Herb on September 11, 2014 at 12:30 PM

A dismal prognosis for the entire area:

http://pjmedia.com/spengler/2014/09/08/14-million-refugees-make-the-levant-unmanageable/?singlepage=true

Maybe we should just pull back and let them kill each other until the entire matter is settled.

Special Forces Grunt on September 11, 2014 at 12:31 PM

More like Freddie and The Dreamers

Del Dolemonte on September 11, 2014 at 12:26 PM

The Freddie is what he does when he knows whose azz to kick.

Flange on September 11, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Obama’s Speech on ISIS, in Plain English
The president didn’t answer the most important questions about his war in Iraq and Syria.
DAVID FRUM

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/09/obamas-speech-on-isis-in-plain-english/380021/

I guess those pants creases are nothing but a bunch of wrinkles now.

parke on September 11, 2014 at 12:31 PM

so far crickets on the lsm about this…

imagine that
/

cmsinaz on September 11, 2014 at 12:33 PM

It sounds like Britain and Germany deserve Peace Prizes for avoiding Obama’s War

faraway on September 11, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Did he bother to check in with the Brits and the Germans before pledging his “broad coalition of partners” last night? It would appear not, and that Obama just assumed that they would follow whatever plan he laid out last night.

Obama probably did, they answered “you’re a Muslim, pound sand”.

TulsAmerican on September 11, 2014 at 12:36 PM

cmsinaz on September 11, 2014 at 12:33 PM

They’re equally silent about not only Turkey denying use of their NATO airbases, but the support that Turkey is giving ISIS….

The chickens of Obama’s feckless foreign policy are coming home to roost.

Athos on September 11, 2014 at 12:39 PM

ISIS, or ISIL, or IS, whatever label is appropriate …
Did anyone else here this gem in Obowmao’s ramble last night?

King Putt said that these organizations “… are not Islam.”

There is only one proper TLA (Three Letter Acronym) response for that:

W T F ?

Missilengr on September 11, 2014 at 12:54 PM

here = hear

Missilengr on September 11, 2014 at 12:55 PM

You can thank Bush for this

weedisgood on September 11, 2014 at 1:11 PM

The vacuousness of Barry’s claim in his Big Plan:
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/387703/tom-ridge-obama-disingenuous-pretending-us-advisers-iraq-not-harms-way-brendan

We DO have boots on the ground, and the lives of these servicement are indeed in jeopardy.

Stop the silly parsing, Obysmal.

onlineanalyst on September 11, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Albania is part of the 9 countries in obama’s coalition, but none of the 9 will actually fight.

“Chimpey” had 38 and counting when the second Iraq war started.

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2014 at 1:27 PM

The whole world will step back from any neo-con adventure in the future because of Iraq.

weedisgood on September 11, 2014 at 1:28 PM

#smartpower

everdiso on September 8, 2014 at 1:23 PM

SubmarineDoc on September 11, 2014 at 1:29 PM

We DO have boots on the ground, and the lives of these servicemen are indeed in jeopardy.

Stop the silly parsing, Obysmal.

onlineanalyst on September 11, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Actually, “onlineanalyst”, I think our Special Ops troops are now required to wear flip-flops (fitting) or sandals when deployed to Iraq so that their CinC can look at the American people through the teleprompter and say “no boots on the ground”.

Oldflyer on September 11, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Cameron is all talk?

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Once again Europe is all talk and no action.

Until you put blood and treasure on the line, stfu.

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

In spite of its promise to NATO to help fight the Islamic State, Turkey will not take part in combat operations against militants and will refuse to allow any US-led coalition to attack jihadists in neighboring Iraq and Syria from its air bases, a government official said Thursday.

smitty41 on September 11, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Did he bother to check in with the Brits and the Germans before pledging his “broad coalition of partners” last night?

Give the guy a break, willya. Neither Germany or the UK are part of his golfing buddies, so he hasn’t had time to touch base with them yet. He might get that blond he was taking “selfies” with at the funeral, but that depend upon Michelle’s approval.

Don L on September 11, 2014 at 1:51 PM

At least Hezbollah and Iran are on board for fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, so Obama has that going for him.

forest on September 11, 2014 at 10:50 AM
And when we find ourselves stuck in a foxhole with these scum, they WILL turn and slit our throats!
The enemy of my enemy is NOT our friend!

Bakokitty on September 11, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Ed, Phase One is airstrikes, not just in Syria. Are you saying Brits and Germans are refusing any and all roles related to airstrikes in Iraq, full stop?

Christien on September 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

“Obama insisted, we would be “joined by a broad coalition of partners,” emphases mine:”
Was Obama going to pull that ” coalition” out of his butt?
There is no coalition, his entire speech was a partially plagiarized version of GWB’s speech; written by Obysmal’s JV team of wet behind the ears 30-40 something’s plucked from our most radical,liberal indoctrinated colleges. Plebs with no real life and world experience.
We are sooooo screwed!

Bakokitty on September 11, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Cameron is all talk?

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Not quite, but he is a career politician so expectations start low.

Meanwhile, there are articles on-line suggesting / claiming / reporting that the British SAS and also the UK’s oversees intelligence agency, MI6 both have people on the ground in Iraq, and possibly also in Syria.

Bearing in mind (a) the number of British passport holders who are alleged to have joined “Islamic State” and (b) past operations conducted by the British in foreign territories, I’d be surprised if MI6 and the SAS were not already in Iraq and/or Syria. They UK government isn’t likely to talk about such matters until it becomes unavoidable.

The issue, then, is not whether the UK is going to be involved in the conflict with “Islamic State”, but the form of that involvement. Mr Cameron will need the UK parliament to agree to airborne attacks against Syria and there is almost no chance of that agreement being given. The SAS, by contrast, are deployed as secretly as possible, without Parliamentary oversight.

YiZhangZhe on September 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM

YiZhangZhe on September 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Wouldn’t be surprised if part of the deal is UK and Germany go after their own citizens fighting for ISIS, but only if they are in Iraq.

Christien on September 11, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Wouldn’t be surprised if part of the deal is UK and Germany go after their own citizens fighting for ISIS, but only if they are in Iraq.

Christien on September 11, 2014 at 2:20 PM

I doubt the UK will wait for any formal “deal” with anybody before pursuing that “domestic” aspect of the situation. The UK is quite capable of acting independently in clandestine operations in the Middle-East, as are several other countries.

YiZhangZhe on September 11, 2014 at 2:54 PM

YiZhangZhe on September 11, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Of course. Not talking about anything formal–I wasn’t clear about that. Just pointing out that they may well conduct airstrikes in Iraq, disproving Ed’s point about not participating in Phase One.

Christien on September 11, 2014 at 3:16 PM

You can thank Bush for this

weedisgood on September 11, 2014 at 1:11 PM

It took less time for O’bama’s job approval numbers to drop into the high 30s than it did for Bush. Let us know when O’bama gets 90% job approval numbers like Bush did after 9/11 and we’ll take you half-seriously.

Del Dolemonte on September 11, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Britain, Germany: We won’t take part in Syria air strikes

I remember how the world was going go love America with Obama as President, but I just don’t feel that love and support.

RJL on September 11, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Old Obama: Bush’s 47 nation coalition with 37 countries having “boots on the ground” = the US “going it alone.”

~

New Obama: US going it alone with a few nations sending greeting cards wishing good luck = “broad coalition.”

Adjoran on September 11, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Britain, Germany: We won’t take part in Syria air strikes

If it’s just the US and France it will be called a ‘broad based’ coalition.

And we won’t be ‘going it alone’.

Even when France just kinda sorta cheers from the sidelines… during this very, very long ‘major counter terrorism operation’.

Orwellian doublespeak rhetoric is common parlance in this admin.

farsighted on September 11, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Great job opening Pandora’s box in the Middle East there champ. I guess it’s a little easier to set the demons free than it is to put them back in the box there isn’t it Preezy?

iceman1960 on September 11, 2014 at 9:41 PM

It sure seems like we’re taking UK support for granted. I haven’t seen any signs that the current WH has made overtures to them for their support. You can’t take the ‘special relationship’ between our two nations for granted.

Maybe Obama isn’t familiar, but Great Britain has some experience in this part of the world. Maybe if he’d bring them on board, they could even help us build our coalition.

hawksruleva on September 11, 2014 at 10:10 PM

Kill ISIS dead.

Our wobbly allies can thank us later.

By killing their own homegrown Islamo-loons when they arise.

Coalitions are useful, but without our firepower and military skills the other members would be hard-pressed to fight these globally-sown maniacs.

profitsbeard on September 12, 2014 at 3:56 AM

After 6 years of ineptitude, corruption, lies, & broken promises, who in their right mind would join this fool in any venture? He cannot be trusted. As soon as he gets political heat, he’ll cut & run! Sorry, he’s just not a leader to be trusted. I don’t blame Britain or Germany. On a side note, anyone notice that Turkey isn’t playing either? Allies!!!

Boats48 on September 12, 2014 at 6:34 AM

I’m old enough to remember when not having France in the coalition was enough to discredit George W. Bush’s “coalition of the willing.”

It was not France’s absence that discredited the coalition, it was the objection of many of the original Desert Storm partners to the invasion of Iraq. They didn’t just decide to sit it out. Egypt, France, the Saudis and others opposed it. That’s the difference.

lexhamfox on September 12, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Life goes on while everyone ignores the elephant in the room. Islam is not a religion. It should be banned like the Nazi Parry in Europe. The US should treat it like a terrorist organization.

alanstern on September 12, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Cameron has his own problems with the Scottish independence vote. He did sound the alarm and cut his vacation short a couple of weeks ago and seemed all concerned but I don’t think he trusts obama. Obama has to a be the “Iam in control” and that turns off the European leaders especially the Brits. By the way Obama could ask Mexico and other Latin American states to help,, /s

garydt on September 12, 2014 at 11:24 PM

Obama leads a coalition of the wilting.

virgo on September 13, 2014 at 2:07 PM

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