President Francois Hollande has said that the attacks in Paris on the 13 November 2015 was an act of war by the Islamic State and vowed to “use all means within the law, on every battleground here and abroad together with our allies”.
The rhetoric could be a sign that a collaborated military effort by NATO members may be being formulated to take on IS. This could possibly be achieved under article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation which states that if a NATO Ally is the victim of an armed attack, each and every other member of the Alliance will consider this act of violence as an armed attack against all members and will take the actions it deems necessary to assist the Ally attacked.
The recent events in Paris could be a platform that all NATO members can use to expand upon airstrikes, already taking place in Iraq and Syria by various nations, that do not currently appear to be seriously damaging IS.
Russian airstrikes have assisted in the Syrian Arab Army and associated militias such as Hezbollah taking back areas previously held by IS in Syria but this is partly due to the sheer quantity of sorties being flown by the Russian Airforce.
A recent example of this would be Kweiris or Kweres airbase in Syria, under siege for over two years by the FSA and then IS but was recently recaptured by the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah with Russian air support. A recent report by The Long War Journal regrading this can be seen below as well as videos and images widely circulating online.
- The Long War Journal article (11 Nov 2015) – Assad regime, allies break Islamic State’s siege of air base in Aleppo:
If article 5 is invoked then a substantial step up in military action could follow, possibly even ground troops in numbers. However it is difficult to imagine that president Assad would want dramatically increased Western military action or foreign troops on the ground within Syria, then again, maybe it could present a political opportunity for him.
It would also remain to be seen how Russia would react, they have called for a more coordinated international military response towards IS in recent weeks although, given the on going tensions and tit for tat propaganda between Russia and the West, watch this space.