Government Report: U.S. Fight Against Islamic State Disorganized, Incoherent

War effort suffers ‘from a lack of coherence’

Fighters from the Islamic State / AP
August 17, 2015

The U.S.-led fight against the Islamic State (IS) suffers "from a lack of coherence" and is often operated in a disorganized fashion, harming efforts to effectively combat the terrorist force, according to a new report by the government.

As the United States and 21 other nations attempt to push back IS forces operating in Iraq, the new report warns that the war effort is being undercut by a lack of coordination and, in some cases, efforts that "contradict" one another, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service that was not made public but was released by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

The report comes amid numerous reports IS is making gains and solidifying its control key Iraq cities and even expanding outside of the war torn country’s borders.

CRS concluded in its analysis that the effort, dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve, is being led in a haphazard manner that leads to inefficient military action by the countries involved.

"Without a single authority responsible for prioritizing and adjudicating between different multinational civilian and military lines of effort, different actors often work at cross-purposes without intending to do so," the report states.

Exact financial contributions by countries remains fuzzy, making it difficult to track exactly what each nations if funding and for what reason.

"Each nation is contributing to the coalition in a manner commensurate with its national interests and comparative advantage, although reporting on nonmilitary contributions tends to be sporadic," the report found.

Recent military campaigns provide evidence of the incoherent strategy, according to CRS.

"These coalition coordination challenges were demonstrated in recent military campaigns (and particularly in Afghanistan)," it states. "Exacerbating matters, other actors in the region—some of whom are coalition partners—have different, and often conflicting, longer-term regional geopolitical interests from those of the United States or other coalition members."

"This, in turn, may lead nations participating in the coalition to advance their goals and objectives in ways that might contradict each other," the report found.

These flaws are impacting the success of the joint military campaign against IS, which has cost the United States $3.21 billion as of July 15.

Disparate rules governing combat for each nation also have clouded the war effort, according to the report.

"Different participants in the coalition have different tolerances for risk, and therefore will determine ‘rules of engagement’ (ROE), or ‘caveats’ that can constrain the ability of military commanders from employing military force as they see fit," the report concluded. "While navigable, all these factors can make it considerably more difficult to consolidate gains and achieve campaign success."

The collation has conducted more than 5,000 airstrikes and destroyed 7,655 "targets" as of July 15, according to figures produced by the Defense Department.

The report also questions the legal basis for the effort.

While most countries justify their involvement via several United Nations Security Council resolutions authorizing force, CRS concluded that some of "these fall short of explicitly authorizing the use of military force against the Islamic State."

The report goes on to highlight contributions made by each of the nations involved.

Published under: Islamic State , Terrorism