Marine Raiders to Lead Fight Against Islamic State
It’s no secret that for the past few months there have been United States forces on the ground in Iraq. The American public was first made overwhelmingly aware of our nation’s involvement in the battle against the Islamic State in 2015, when a Delta Force operator was fatally wounded in a raid on an IS compound.
While there still appears to be no legitimate plan of action using conventional ground troops in Iraq, Special Operations Command is slated to continue operations in the region into at least later this year.
Starting earlier in 2016, Marine Corps Special Operations Command Raiders had assumed command of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Iraq. According to MARSOC spokesman Capt. Barry Morris, the Raiders will be providing the staff element for the task force’s rotation.
Morris goes on to say “this deployment is the first time MARCOS has formed and deployed a full CJSOTF staff.” “MARSOC units are in high demand among the theater special operations commanders due to [the command’s] reputation for professionalism and the combat-proven small-unit tactics, cultural awareness and operations-intelligence integration at all levels.”
Of course this doesn’t mean that other SOC and Tier 1 elements will no longer be operating in theater- the announcement means that the command element within the task force itself will be formed form MARSOC personnel.
SOCOM has seen considerable success in the past in the battle against the Islamic State, particularly in direct action engagements. This current MARSOC-led deployment looks to build on previous advances and continue the fight against radical Islam in Iraq and Syria.
While a huge proponent of military action myself, it’s undoubtable that this battle can’t be won by direct action alone. Some other vital points in a plan to stomp out the Islamic State include cutting off funding from Gulf monarchies, denying the enemy movement across the Turkish border (a poor excuse for an ally), and promoting unity between different Muslim sects.
Unfortunately, with leadership who chooses to downplay the full threat potential of IS, hoping that anything but clandestine small-unit operations take place within the region isn’t worth holding one’s breath over. Thankfully however, as far as small-unit operations goes, the folks over at MARSOC know what they’re doing.