Thursday, April 20, 2017

Another Missile Strike?

According to the occasionally reliable DEBKAfile another American missile strike is imminent, but not, as one might expect, against the North Koreans. Here are some excerpts from their report:
The US Mediterranean fleet is moving into position ready for a decision to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles for a crushing assault on the Islamic State’s mountain strongholds in central Sinai, DEBKAfile’s military and counterterrorism sources report.

The prospective American missile attack in Sinai ...would have been discussed during the Egyptian President Abdul-Fatteh El-Sisi’s visit to the White House on April 3. He explained to his host, President Donald Trump, the immense difficulty of overcoming the Islamic State’s affiliate when its headquarters were dug into an interconnected web of tunnels and caves in the central Jabal (Mount) Halal of the peninsula.

Nicknamed the “Tora Bora of Sinai,” approach roads to this mountain fastness are few and far between....

The last Egyptian assault on ISIS’ towering mountain stronghold took place on April 2, shortly before El-Sisi traveled to Washington. The Egyptian military announced that 31 terrorists had been killed and a number of caves holding arms and ammunition destroyed.

But the damage was not devastating enough to disrupt the Islamist terrorists’ operations, DEBKAfile’s military sources report. Most of the terrorists escaped with the help of allied Bedouin tribesmen who, familiar with every nook and cranny in the desert peninsula, guided them to safety in new caves in Jabal Halal that were even more inaccessible to Egyptian troops.

Their new headquarters can only be destroyed by cruise missiles capable of exploding underground.
There's more at the link. The report also claims that a final decision to go ahead with a US missile assault on central Sinai rests with Defense Secretary James Mattis who arrived in Cairo yesterday, April 19.

I suppose we'll know soon enough what the results of Mattis' consultations with the Egyptians are.