Hof: We’ve Been Bombing ISIS for Over a Year. It’s Time for Ground Troops.

Rafik Hariri Center Resident Senior Fellow Frederic C. Hof writes for the Huffington Post on why the attacks in Paris by ISIS-affiliated gunmen necessitate putting boots on the ground to remove ISIS from Syria:

Mass murder in Paris by gunmen affiliated with the Islamic State should be a game changer for Washington and the West. ISIS’s proud claim of responsibility for this obscenity should amount to a self-imposed death sentence. While beating these barbarians in Iraq may take time owing to roots they have sunk in an aggrieved Sunni Arab minority, no such constraints exist in Syria. The proper near-term response to this declaration of war on civilizations is for Washington to organize and lead a regional and European ground combat coalition to kill ISIS in Syria.

Whatever differences of opinion may have existed in the U.S. intelligence community about the willingness and ability of ISIS to project terror beyond Syria and Iraq, they are now resolved. The U.S. needs to step up now, rather than waiting for an atrocity on its own soil.

If what happened in Paris had taken place in any American city or town, the Obama administration’s aversion to “boots on the ground” (beyond 50 special forces personnel) against ISIS in Syria would presumably become as irrelevant and inoperative as a chemical red line. Will a 9/11-type assault on an ally produce the same muscular reaction as an ISIS attack on America presumably would? It should, even if the alliance per se may not move the president. Given the easy availability of lethal weaponry in the U.S. and the fact that Washington is the mother of all targets as the leader of a 65-member anti-ISIS coalition, President Barack Obama cannot avoid addressing the risk we face.

Read the full article here.

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Image: French President François Hollande (left) welcomes US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Élysée Palace in Paris on Nov. 17. (Reuters/Philippe Wojazer)