A study by the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations showed that the United States dropped 23,144 bombs on Muslim-majority countries Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia in 2015.
Micah Zenko, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), wrote in an article published in early January that since January 1, 2015, the United States has dropped approximately 23,144 bombs in six Muslim-majority countries: 11 in Pakistan, 18 in Somalia, 58 in Yemen, 947 in Afghanistan and 22,110 in Syria and Iraq. According to Zenko, “this estimate is based on the fact that the United States has conducted 77 per cent of all airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, while there were 28,714 US-led coalition munitions dropped in 2015. This overall estimate is probably slightly low, because it also assumes one bomb dropped in each drone strike in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, which is now always the case.”
Zenko noted that Washington’s counter-terrorism strategy focuses primarily on killing extremists and pays far less attention to ways to prevent a moderate individual from becoming radicalized. Therefore, “the size of [ISIS] has remained wholly unchanged.” Last February, Marie Harf, U.S. Department of State spokesperson, claimed that the U.S. is killing ISIS terrorists and “will continue killing ISIS terrorists that pose a threat to us.” On January 6, 2016, Army Col. Steve Warren, Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman, said in a video posted on the U.S. Department of Defence website “If you’re part of ISIL, we will kill you. That’s our rule.”
The senior fellow at CFR noted that the problem with the United States’ “kill-em’-all with airstrikes” rule is “that it is not working.” Pentagon officials say that over 25,000 ISIS fighters have been killed and only six civilians perished in their 17-month air campaign. Despite their killing spree, officials acknowledge that the size of the terror group has remained unchanged.
Two years ago, the CIA estimated that Islamic State consisted of 20,000 to 31,000 fighters. In the video published in early January, Warren confirmed that there are roughly 30,000 ISIS terrorists.
The so-called ‘War on Terror’, the international military campaign led by the United States and established after the 9/11 terrorist attacks continues to claim human lives as the U.S. expands its military involvement in the Middle East. U.S. President Barack Obama told Vice News in March last year that ‘ISIL is a direct outgrowth of al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion” and emphasized that this is “an example of unintended consequences.”
The Nobel Peace Prize winner continues a long list of bombings inherited from his predecessors; as former U.S. Army Col. Andrew Bacevich wrote in a Washington Post op-ed two years ago, Syria became the 14th country in the Islamic world that U.S. forces have bombed, invaded or occupied and in which American soldiers have killed innocent people, after Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Kuwait, Somalia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Kosovo, Yemen and Pakistan.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimated in 2014 that the Obama administration has launched over 390 drone strikes in five years across Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia –eight times as many approved during Bush’s terms.