America's allies in the fight against the Islamic State may seem willing now. But what happens when they want to start bombing Assad?
On Sept. 19, six weeks after the United States began airstrikes on Islamic State targets, France announced that a Rafale fighter jet had destroyed a terrorist supply depot in northeastern Iraq. From that one airstrike, the multinational military coalition attacking the Islamic State emerged. Since then, eight other countries have either bombed suspected Islamic State targets in Iraq or Syria, or declared that they will in the future. The relatively sudden formation of the coalition -- a group that otherwise agrees on little else -- participating in the kinetic military element of the international campaign against the Islamic State is remarkable, though unsurprising. Many of these governments had been eager to intervene in Syria's civil war for years and, more recently, to attack the Islamic State directly. Yet it was only once U.S. President Barack Obama authorized the first airstrikes that the rest signed up, having secured the full weight of U.S. military power to backstop the effort.