The Syrian raid this past week end
delivered a “significant blow” to the Islamic State, which is known variously as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh.
It was the first successful raid conducted by American commandos in Syria this year, and demonstrated a willingness by 44 to authorize covert operations despite a series of failed rescue operations during the past year in Syria and Yemen.
It also showed that the White House was willing to send combat troops into Syria — even if only temporarily — despite frequently promising to keep American forces out of the fighting there. The Obama administration has sent hundreds of U.S. special forces to the Middle East to train “moderate” anti-government Syrian rebels, but publicly vowed that there would be no American boots on the ground in either war zone.
Indeed, the fact that the White House gave the green light for an operation into Syria, combined with reports that the Delta operators removed a substantial trove of intelligence material from the site, might indicate that the raid could be the first in a series of such missions.
During the war against the Islamic State’s predecessor organization, al Qaeda in Iraq, Delta and the other components of the military’s Joint Special Operations Command developed a system called “F3EAD” — for Find, Fix, Finish, Exploit, Analyze, Disseminate — in which strike forces would raid objectives such as militant safe houses not only to kill or capture the militants but to gain as much material of intelligence value as possible. By sucking information out of hard drives and cell phones, as well as quickly interrogating anyone taken prisoner, Delta and other JSOC forces were able to launch several missions a night, each based on intelligence gained in the previous raid.
That dynamic could repeat itself here.