How the Paris Attacks May Change the US Strategy Against ISIS

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WATCH France and Allies Target ISIS With Airstrikes in Syria

While France will ramp up its military attacks against ISIS in Syria as a result of the deadly terror attacks in Paris, it is likely that the U.S. will not increase the number of aircraft targeting ISIS or insert more troops into Iraq and Syria.

President Obama said as much in a news conference today in Turkey at the G20 Summit.

"We have the right strategy and we're going to see it through," said the president, who added that his senior civilian and military advisers have cautioned him that sending in large numbers of ground troops into Syria "would be a mistake."

The current strategy calls for using airstrikes to check ISIS's territorial advances in Iraq and Syria, training and working with the Iraqi military to retake ISIS territory inside Iraq and working with rebel groups in Syria that are already fighting ISIS.

There are 3,550 U.S. military personnel authorized to serve in Iraq and soon 50 U.S. special operations forces will serve in northeastern Syria working with rebel groups fighting ISIS, according to military officials.

French President Francois Hollande told the French Parliament today that "France is at war" labeling Friday night's attacks "acts of war." Hollande said what was needed was a focus on "destroying" ISIS and "we need more strikes and we're doing so."

On Sunday, France launched retaliatory airstrikes targeting against ISIS's de facto capital of Raqqa in Syria. Using targeting information provided by the U.S. military, 10 French military aircraft dropped 20 bombs on an ISIS command center and training camp in Raqqa.

The French strikes were similar to those carried out by Jordan earlier this year following the execution by ISIS of a downed Jordanian pilot. This means that the French and Jordanians hit targets the U.S. had already targeted for airstrikes but were passed along to each country for retaliatory strikes.

Over the past 15 months coalition aircraft have already conducted more than 8,125 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, with U.S. aircraft conducting more than 6,353 of them.

Prior to the Paris attacks, Defense Secretary Ash Carter had already said that the U.S. was planning additional airstrikes to put more pressure on ISIS. Over the past month the U.S. has been targeting more of ISIS's oil operations seeking to make a dent in the revenue the terror group uses to fund its operations.

While Republican presidential candidates and members of Congress have advocated a larger American troop presence in Iraq and Syria, President Obama said today that is not what is needed.

"Not because our military could not march into Mosul or Raqqa or Ramadi and temporarily clear out ISIL," President Obama said. ISIS is also known as ISIL. "But because we would see a repetition of what we've seen before, which is if you do not have local populations that are committed to inclusive governance and who are pushing back against ideological extremes that they resurface unless we're prepared to have a permanent occupation of these countries."

Michael O'Hanlon, a national security analyst with the Brookings Institution, agrees with the president on that view, though he said he would like to see a different emphasis in the future for American military personnel in Syria.

The Paris attacks "should not lead us to overreact with the notion that we have to immediately ourselves squelch ISIL with an invasion," said O'Hanlon. "I think that would be an overreaction because it would probably do as much harm as good."

"It would take a while to carry out, take a while to implement and we've learned from Iraq and Afghanistan it's probably not optimal," he said, but cautioned: "We should also not also go to the other extreme and just conclude that we can entirely minimize our role."

Instead, he favors a political transition in Syria that could lead to a confederational government where the U.S. could provide special operations forces to help train opposition forces and possibly provide humanitarian relief.

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