A Watershed Moment

The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee hailed the participation of Gulf and regional allies in the air campaign in Syria as a “watershed moment” for US security cooperation in the region. Speaking to reporters Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Levin said President Obama waited until he had “significant regional support” before launching the campaign in Syria. “The significant thing for me,” said Levin (D-Mich.), is that partner countries are “flying and they are dropping bombs.” Levin said he spoke with US Central Command boss Army Gen. Lloyd Austin Wednesday morning to get an update on strikes and was told the participating allies were flying sorties at the very moment. Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia all contributed forces to the initial waves. The participation is visible to the public, not covert, Levin added. “I’m interested in whether they will continue to participate,” he said. When asked about Turkey’s absence from the coalition, Levin said he has every indication the country would participate in the effort, but the campaign began just days after Turkish diplomats being held hostage in Mosul, Iraq, were freed.