WASHINGTON, September 24 (RIA Novosti) - US President Barack Obama's decision to strike the Islamic State (IS) targets inside Syria marks a new era and dramatic change in course of his policy in the Middle East, President of the Center for New American Security (CNAS) Richard Fontaine said Wednesday.
"After years of studiously avoiding direct intervention in the Syrian civil war, President Obama has reversed course in dramatic fashion. This marks a new era for America's role in a region from which many hoped to pivot away," Fontaine remarked in a CNAS press release.
Beginning early on Tuesday, the US began coordinated airstrikes and missile strikes against multiple IS targets inside Syria within the vicinity of Raqqa, Dayr az Zawr, Al-Hasakah and Abu Kamal. The United States carried out the attacks in coordination with Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and with support from Qatar. The United States also independently struck targets outside Aleppo against the Al-Qaeda linked Khorasan grouping, which, according to US officials, poses an imminent threat to the US homeland or European allies.
US media has observed this approach in the Middle East is a sharp change from President Obama's previously stated goals of disengagement from the region, and scaling back counterterrorism operations.
Saying that the United States has right to reverse the advances of the Islamic State and affiliated groups, CNAS president noted, that "airstrikes in Syria, however, represent merely the opening salvo of what must be a more comprehensive approach to that country."
It is difficult for the analyst to imagine how a contingent of 5,000 Syrian fighters, to be trained by the US over the next year, will face down 30,000 IS fighters, while pursuing "their longstanding goal of toppling the Assad regime."
Fontaine stressed that ground troops will certainly be needed, whether they are American or from allied countries.
"It will take more than airstrikes to be successful in that endeavor," the security expert concluded.