The Islamic State just entered a brand new world of pain.
The Pentagon has officially dispatched the U.S. Army's elite Delta Force unit to Iraq to "target, capture or kill top ISIS operatives," CNN reports.
The strategic objective of the new Delta Force operations, which commenced Monday following weeks of preparation, is to driving ISIS out of the group's Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, according to IBT, with 200 Delta Force soldiers "conducting raids, seizing territory and plotting to rescue hostages and prisoners" alongside Iraqi forces. Here's more from CNN:
CNN is not detailing any precise locations or operations. Based on several interviews with U.S. officials however, a growing role is rapidly emerging for Special Operations forces in Iraq and Syria.
CNN has learned that Delta Force plans to replicate the strategy that Special Operations forces used for years in Iraq and Afghanistan. The plan: Gather enough intelligence to stage raids on terror compounds and hideouts. Then from intelligence gathered at those sites, such as laptops and cellphones, forces will try to rapidly learn more about ISIS networks and quickly attack additional related targets.
"The only thing I'll say is the (Expeditionary Targeting Force) is in position, it is having an effect and operating, and I expect it to be a very effective part of our acceleration campaign," Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told reporters on Monday.
But the goal of these Delta Force operations — which are conducted under the auspices of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the most elite warriors on the planet — isn't just to free hostages and take out terrorist leaders, but to demoralize and instill "fear" among the ISIS ranks, ensuring that terrorists live in fear "that anywhere, anytime, they may be struck."
From the looks of it, the arrival of a new Delta Force contingent in Iraq is just another stage of the Pentagon's surgical efforts to use its most elites assets to destabilize the terrorist caliphate, The deployment of Delta Force comes months after Defense Secretary Carter announced that the Pentagon would deploy members of JSOC (of which Delta Force is a member) to engage in operations against ISIS on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border. Here's what Maxim's Adam Linehan wrote at the time:
JSOC is an obvious choice to spearhead the expanding American ground war against ISIS. Its reputation as a highly secretive and extremely effective killing machine was first established during the early days of the Iraq War under the leadership of Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Between 2003 and 2008, the task force killed or captured thousands of insurgents, and is often credited with dismantling al-Qaeda's leadership in Iraq.
That's just the tip of the iceberg. Over the years, JSOC has conducted thousands of top secret operations throughout the Middle East, South Asia, Africa, and even Peru, often striking deep behind enemy lines to neutralize targets in places where conventional forces never go. It was under JSOC that SEAL Team 6 executed the mission that took out Osama Bin Ladin. And it was under JSOC that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed. Those random stories of American commandos storming compounds in Somalia or snatching men off the streets of Libya that occasionally pop up in the news? That's JSOC.
With special forces waging an escalating ground campaign against ISIS under the umbrella of U.S-led coalition airstrikes, this may be the final push to force ISIS from Iraq once and for all — we hope.