The United States is closing in on its 100th airstrike in Iraq since Aug. 8, when President Obama authorized military action against a variety of militant targets affiliated with the Islamic State. The details have come in news releases issued nearly every day since, incremental reminders that the U.S. military is waging a new war with no end in sight.
What has been hit, though? As the strikes continue, grasping the totality has become increasingly difficult. To get a better handle on it, Checkpoint compiled a spreadsheet — available in Google Docs here — breaking down all of the targets as U.S. Central Command has described them. Among the patterns to emerge:
Vehicles have been targeted in the majority of the strikes
The very first airstrike took out a convoy of seven vehicles, and the military hasn’t let up on similar targets since. Airstrikes have destroyed or damaged more than 85 vehicles, including 43 described either as “armed trucks” or “armed vehicles” and 19 more identified as Humvees. Those numbers could be even higher, however: At other points, CENTCOM has characterized vehicles as “armored vehicles” or simply as vehicles. Those are counted in the total of 85, but it wasn’t possible to break down which type of military vehicles they were.
A variety of stationary targets have been hit
The military said it destroyed nine enemy fighting positions on Aug. 18, but it hasn’t reported doing so since. Other stationary targets have been hit, however. CENTCOM has reported striking a machine-gun emplacement, four militant checkpoints and numerous improvised explosive device emplacements.
Weapons under fire
The Islamic State has seized a variety of weapons from Iraqi forces during their assault across the northern and western regions of the country this year. Among the targets the U.S. military has hit: Mobile artillery (once), mortar systems (three times) and anti-aircraft artillery guns (once).
Most are near Mosul Dam
Two-thirds of all airstrikes conducted by the U.S. in Iraq have occurred near the Mosul Dam, a strategic asset that the Iraqi military took back from the militants earlier this month. The military has carried out 96 airstrikes as of Aug. 24, when the last news release was published. Sixty-two of them have occurred around the dam.
Related on Checkpoint:
Here are the bases the U.S. can use for Iraq airstrikes