The situation in Libya continues to heat up, with journalists salivating over America’s “next war.” The North African country is, of course, a security threat for Europe. This highlights the fact that European governments have slashed their defense budgets for decades, relying on the protective umbrella of NATO (read: America) to fight off terrorists, Russians, or anyone else who could threaten their fragile socialist economies. Europe has a problem. We could call this affliction “no-balls syndrome.”
Upon sitting down for dinner with a retired special operations sergeant major, he related a frustrating story to me. The sergeant major and his indig troops were preparing to go out on an operation in Afghanistan with Denmark’s Jaeger Corps. As a unit, the Jaeger Corps is among the best, most highly trained and professional soldiers in the world. As the troops were waiting to board the helicopters that would take them to the objective, the Jaeger Corps ground force commander received a phone call. It was a member of the Danish Parliament, scolding the military officer for not making him aware of the mission and telling him that the Danish special operations soldiers could not launch.
The extreme political sensitivity to anything military in Europe (and Australia, for that matter) goes back to the continent’s tenuous relationship with standing armies, historical conflicts, and the fact that Europeans have these shaky coalition governments that can’t get anything done. How will this shape up for Libya? The Europeans will ignore the problem as long as they possibly can, hoping that Americans will come and solve it for them.
If you need a bit more evidence of European denial of reality this week, note that the deputy prime minister of Sweden said that the 9/11 attacks were an “accident.”
Meanwhile, the ISIS crisis grinds on in the Middle East. It seems that the fever pitch alarmism surrounding ISIS has died down, at least until the next terrorist attack on the home front. The press has also gotten bored with the ISIS snuff films that they used to broadcast on a daily basis. A new generation of American special operations soldiers are hunting ISIS in the same area of Iraq that I was hunting al-Qaeda in over 10 years ago with Task Force North.
Delta operators and Kurdish commandos (almost certainly the Kurdish STG based in Erbil) hit a target south of Mosul and killed ISIS commander Salman Abu Shabib al-Jebouri. This operation follows a trend that has been ongoing for months now. America has been pushing the government of Iraq (GOI) to retake Mosul after the Iraqi Army cowardly fled the battlefield and handed it over to the enemy a few years ago.
While the coalition engages in yet another round of training for Iraqi troops (like we did for a decade), JSOC has been conducting operations directed against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The operations around Mosul seem to be OPE, or operational preparation of the battlespace. In other words, Delta and the Kurdish commandos are softening up the ISIS command structure prior to the Iraqi Army (backed up by the Peshmerga) raiding Mosul in force. The goal for these direct-action raids is likely to take out key members of the hierarchy, especially the competent commanders, leaving the remaining ISIS forces in disarray when the main effort moves to retake Mosul.
Featured image courtesy of theblaze.com