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U.S. Special Operations Forces Fail in Syria

21.08.2014 16:07

U.S. Special Operations forces conducted an unsuccessful operation this summer in attempt to rescue an American photojournalist James Foley and other hostages held by the Islamic State militants in Syria, but the mission failed as the prisoners were not at the suspected location.

Several groups of the elite U.S. commandos like Delta Force and Navy SEAL Team 6 flew in aboard helicopters but couldn't find the hostages. It was reported unofficially that Foley and others were kept at an eastern Syria site near Raqaa, a city held by Islamic State fighters. The Islamic State on Tuesday released a video of Foley?s execution, which it said was a response to U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. 

The senior official of the White House said that the failed operation was conducted by a joint force with virtually every service represented, including special operators and aircraft - both rotary and fixed-wing, with surveillance aircraft overhead.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said on Wednesday: "We never intended to disclose this operation. An overriding concern for the safety of the hostages and operational security made it imperative that we preserve as much secrecy as possible. We only went public today when it was clear a number of media outlets were preparing to report on the operation and that we would have no choice but to acknowledge it".

The U.S. President Barack Obama said that "The US will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. We will be vigilant and we will be relentless".

But the way the U.S. Administration is to tackle the problem remains unclear. Are intelligence information, international support including legitimization of strikes and land operations at disposal? In the long run the moral and psychological feedback of Iraqi war is rather negative for American society. Do the White House's "relentless" steps mean the start of new war against terrorism? If all the steps are reasonably verified and the situation scrutinized, does that mean that all the lessons of previous interventions have been learnt?

Moreover, members of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) who hold American passports are able to travel freely across the U.S. and are prepared to do the unthinkable. ISIL ideology is gaining support in the world. Last month, ISIL flags flew in an anti-Israel demonstration in Hague, there was chanting against America and the West and most enthusiastically, "Death to the Jews." There is a vast spread of muslim radicalism in most European countries. The critical questions are on the table and there are still no appropriate answers.