The White House insists that, in the new year (February), they'll activate a new plan.
The reality, of course, is that their plans are about as limited as any AT&T data plan.
Today, though the US government denies it, there are reports that the Islamic State shot down a war plane flying over Syria.
Again, the US government denies it; however, Press Latina reports, "The Jordan Ministry of Defense today confirmed that one of its warplanes was brought down in Syria and its pilot was captured by the Islamic State (IS) fighters."
Repeating, the US government denies the event, but Mohammad Tayseer and Nafeesa Syeed (Bloomberg News) report, "Islamic State militants are holding a Jordanian fighter pilot captive in Syria after his warplane went down during a mission against the al-Qaeda breakaway group. "
Hugh Naylor and Erin Cunningham (Washington Post) offer this from the US government:
“We are aware of the capture of a Jordanian pilot by ISIL,” Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said in Washington. “We are working closely with the government of Jordan to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident.”
While the US government continues to deny the events, CBC offers:
Islamic State in Iraq and Syria fighters have been assumed to have "limited air defence capability," the BBC has reported — but they're well short of having the kind of Russian equipment thought to have shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17.
In that case, U.S. officials have said a Russian-made Buk missile launcher operated by rebels in Ukraine may have fired a radar-guided SA-11 missile that took down the airliner, killing 298 people. Firing such missiles requires training. Lack of it may have contributed to the Malaysian airlines disaster.
So far, ISIS is believed to be using only portable, shoulder-mounted launchers that fire heat-seeking missiles — potentially effective, but far less sophisticated than SA-11s.
Regardless of what has taken place, the US government has put in an extraordinary amount of energy into denying all reports. What a shame that same zeal couldn't be used in devising a plan to address the Islamic State.
In Iraq today, AP reports that the military base in Madain (close to Baghdad) was bombed and "at least 24 people" are dead. I'm sure State Dept spokesperson Marie Harf is thrilled there's no press briefing scheduled for today and she won't have to try to spin this latest attack as yet another round of 'good news' the White House can be proud of.
With all the US troops back in Iraq and headed back, it's easy to forget that contractors will also be part of the equation. Warren Strobel and Phil Stewart (Reuters) remind:
The U.S. government is preparing to boost the number of private contractors in Iraq as part of President Barack Obama's growing effort to beat back Islamic State militants threatening the Baghdad government, a senior U.S. official said.
How many contractors will deploy to Iraq - beyond the roughly 1,800 now working there for the U.S. State Department - will depend in part, the official said, on how widely dispersed U.S. troops advising Iraqi security forces are, and how far they are from U.S. diplomatic facilities.
The following community sites -- plus Antiwar.com, the Guardian and Jake Tapper -- updated:
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