The British media is reporting that US troops engaged ISIL ground forces in Anbar province in Iraq a few days ago (first link). An ISIL force attacked an Iraqi airbase where the US forces were positioned and the US troops had to engage the ISIL forces in ground combat. This is the first media account of US ground forces fighting ISIL ground forces to my knowledge. It is entirely possible that US Special Forces have engaged ISIL forces at various times, but if this has happened, it has happened without any media fanfare. This combat also involved US warplanes supporting the US troops on the ground.
US forces may have no choice but to engage in further combat with ISIL forces as the Iraqi army still seems to have no will to seriously resist ISIL. The second link reports that ISIL forces are continuing to push Iraqi forces out of Anbar province located west of Baghdad. Indeed, the southern front of the ISIL war on Iraq seems to be going ISIL’s way. The ISIL forces have even gotten dangerously close to the Jordanian border and skirmishes on the Jordanian border have already been reported (third link). If Jordanian forces become engaged in open battle with ISIL forces, it will be very hard for Saudi forces to stay out of the war on the ground.
On the other hand, ISIL forces are on the run in northern Iraq. Supported by US and UAE air attacks, the Kurdish Peshmerga have gained a major victory over ISIL forces (fourth link and fifth link). The Kurdish forces rescued stranded Yazidis on Mt. Sinjar by forcing ISIL fighters to retreat from the region. The Kurds seem poised to also seize the city of Sinjar in northern Iraq from ISIL forces. I watched reports on Al Jazeera America TV which showed the Kurds were attacking with some of their own tank columns, which were sporting brightly-colored toppings on their tank turrets so US warplanes could recognize them from the air as Kurdish “friendly” forces. I can’t help but think that now that this tactic has been publicized, the ISIL forces will do the same thing to confuse US and allied warplanes about the identity of tanks and armored vehicles on the ground. The Kurdish successes indicate that the Kurds are carving out as large an area in northern Iraq as possible to come under their jurisdiction in an independent Kurdistan when the war with ISIL is concluded. I don’t blame them. They deserve an independent nation of their own as they are the only real force in the Mideast which has not only opposed ISIL with “boots on the ground,” but they have also shown themselves to be an honorable people by sheltering many refugees from ISIL thugs regardless of whether the refugees were Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, or Yazidis.
With no air force or navy and their forces scattered all over Iraq and Syria, ISIL forces would not be hard to defeat rather quickly if the USA, the Saudis, Jordanians and others in the “coalition” committed ground forces to join the Kurds in fighting ISIL troops on the ground. The Kurdish successes in the north confirm the value of combining air power with ground forces to defeat and drive back ISIL forces. The Kurdish advance in the north is also threatening to cut off ISIL forces located in Mosul.
One curious item is reported in the last link. It reports that ISIL is receiving planeloads of weaponry from unknown parties, and that the planes are reportedly coming from central Asian nations. If this is true, then US surveillance assets should be able to easily trace these arms shipments coming to ISIL at ISIL-controlled airfields in Iraq. At the very least, US warplanes could easily destroy all planes landing at ISIL-controlled airfields to stop this flow of weaponry to ISIL. This is so obviously a necessary step that one wonders why it hasn’t been done already. Is the US serious about fighting ISIL or not? If it doesn’t destroy or shoot down all aircraft landing at ISIL-controlled airfields, the Obama administration isn’t really serious about defeating ISIL, no matter what it says publicly. All other nations can see this reality as well.
Prophetically, we are continuing to see the map of the Mideast and other Muslim regions re-drawn as the outcome of the fighting will determine which nations are in the Ezekiel 38-39 Gog-Magog alliance and which ones will be in the alliance led by the modern nations of the ten tribes of Israel which migrated out of Asia into Europe in the 3rd-6th centuries AD as the Goths, Saxons, Germans, Vandals, etc. after the massive Israelite empires of Parthia and Scythia fell in the regions we now call Mesopotamia, Iran, the Caucasus and southern Russia. The nations of Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya no longer effectively exist. Afghanistan and Pakistan are at risk of destabilization. Lebanon is effectively partitioned already as Hezbollah controls the southern region of the nation. Egypt would have collapsed if the Egyptian army had not stepped in decisively to expel the Muslim Brotherhood from power. This process of nations falling apart and re-forming into new entities is certainly not yet over.