The former chief of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer, recently outlined a strategy for beating Islamic State that could actually work. He proposed targeting the infrastructure and production facilities that provide IS with the material and financing it takes to prosecute a full scale war. It appears as though the United Kingdom will now execute a strategy very similar to that outlined by Scheuer. reports here:
British airstrikes in Syria will target the infrastructure that supports Islamic State militants, including oil wellheads, ammunition stores and supply routes running to Iraq, U.K. Defense Minister Michael Fallon said.
Mr. Fallon was headed to Washington to meet his U.S. counterpart, Ash Carter, on Friday, the first time the two men have met since the U.K.’s Royal Air Force joined the U.S.-led bombing campaign in Syria last week.
Mr. Fallon also said the U.K. had responded to U.S. concerns about British defense-spending cuts, but acknowledged it would take time for new military equipment to come into service to fill gaps in capability.
British jets will use precision munitions to target the infrastructure that supports Islamic State, including small oil wellheads that provide revenue for the group, the defense minister said, speaking to a small group of reporters.
“The coalition hasn’t been bombing these infrastructure targets until recently because of this effort to support the ground Kurdish forces. And there are plenty of targets,” Mr. Fallon said.
The U.K. has doubled its strike force to a total of 10 Tornado jets and six Eurofighter Typhoon jets since Parliament approved the expansion of airstrikes against Islamic State to Syria from Iraq, where the Royal Air Force has been bombing for more than a year.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron spoke about the need to cut off Islamic State’s sources of funding with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a call, adding that the U.K.’s first airstrikes in Syria had targeted oil fields.
Within hours of Mr. Cameron winning approval for airstrikes in Syria on Dec. 2, the Royal Air Force began targeting oil infrastructure in eastern Syria. They struck the same Omar oil fields again on Sunday with eight attacks; the government said early reports suggested they were successful. The site is one of the most important to Islamic State’s financial operations, representing “over 10% of their potential income from oil,” the U.K. ministry of defense has said.