The U.S. military knows what it will take. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said, “This is an organization that has an apocalyptic end-of-days strategic vision and which will eventually have to be defeated.” A whole cadre of retired generals has been vocal in calling for a realistic assessment of what will need to be called a war rather than a piecemeal offensive. But a full-scale air attack — inherently a declaration of war — requires the kind of commitment that goes beyond anything that the president and congress seem willing to carry out.
However, there are hundreds of combat-ready aircraft in countries bordering Iraq and Syria. In Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, the Arab regimes have been on an arms-buying spree, with most of the equipment coming from the U.S. and Europe. But they are nowhere to be seen.
Many experts echo what Shashank Joshi, of the Royal United Services Institute in London argued in the Financial Times: “The Arab world has preferred to ride on the coat-tails of outsiders while castigating western “inaction”. It is time for the Arab world, and neighbors such as Turkey, to act. … An Arab coalition, with Turkey, should now offer direct military support to target ISIS.”