WASHINGTON, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - The United States leadership cannot agree on a name for its enemy in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State (IS), raising questions about how it will define its objectives in the conflict, said American University professor and former Pakistan ambassador to the UK, Akbar Ahmed.
"If you're not sure about the name of this creature how are we going to define our objectives? What are we going to fight? What are we fighting?" asked Ahmed during a Wednesday panel discussion on the US and IS.
Ahmed noted that there is not even agreement on the name of the group. "The President of the United States calls it ISIL, members of the administration call it ISIS, they [the Islamic State militants] call themselves Daish," he explained.
The former ambassador is critical of the administration's approach to the situation warning that the US has "gone charging in again" to the Middle East. Recalling how the US involved itself in a tribal war in Afghanistan, Ahmed noted, "this time we are charging in again and getting involved in a sectarian war."
He concluded saying that the United States "have to be very careful in terms of who we are actually fighting and what our objectives are going to be at the end of it all."
The confusion about the anti-IS operation has been ongoing since military strikes against IS targets began in early August. The US administration has also been very reluctant to call the operations a war, or clearly state the objectives. US officials, however, have noted that the conflict is likely to continue for at least a decade, if not more.
The Pentagon finally announced on Wednesday afternoon the codename for the operations, calling it Operation Inherent Resolve.
Operation Inherent Resolve has over 60 nations allied in some way, and has been ongoing for the past two months.