As Mr. Obama considered new strikes, the White House began its diplomatic campaign to enlist allies and neighbors in the region to increase their support for Syria’s moderate opposition and, in some cases, to provide support for possible American military operations. The countries likely to be enlisted include Australia, Britain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, officials said.Wait, why does the US, Britain and Australia have to shoulder the military burden of taking on a foe threatening multiple nations in the Middle East? Sure, Turkey has airbases. They also have airplanes—240 F-16s and F4s. Turkey also has one of the larger armies in the region, nearly 300,000 strong. Islamic State a threat to them? Let them handle it.
The officials, who asked not to be named discussing sensitive internal deliberations, said they expected that Britain and Australia would be willing to join the United States in an air campaign. The officials said they also wanted help from Turkey, which has military bases that could be used to support an effort in Syria.
And why has the US been arming the Gulf emirates to the teeth? Islamic State has no love for them, and wants their land for their "caliphate," so maybe they can deploy some of that hardware? The United Arab Emirates has 80 F-16s, 60 Mirage 2000, and an actual army. Oman has a smaller air force, but it has one. And an army. As does Qatar. And Bahrain. And Kuwait.
Then there is Saudi Arabia, with over 300 F-15s and over 100 Tornados. And with an army that is 150,000-strong, the ability to provide serious manpower to any anti-IS effort. For comparison's sake, Australia has 95 combat aircraft, total.
How about Jordan? With nearly 80 F-16s and over 100,000 soldiers in its well-regarded army, they'd be a serious force. And heck, Iran has a real problem with IS as well, so why not? Invite them to the party as well.
Point is, there are plenty of actors in the region with the capability to take care of the threat to their stability. Let the US provide drone and satellite surveillance. If some of these countries need help ferrying troops into Iraq, then sure, lug them around in our transport aircraft. Heck, chip in with some additional combat aircraft.
But the time to shoulder the weight of fighting other people's wars is over. Let someone else pay for these wars, and bleed for them, and suffer blowback for them. We've spent the last several decades arming these countries. Now let them take care of their own problems.
We can cheer them on from the sidelines.
Update: Egypt and UAE conducted air strikes in Libya a couple of days ago, so there you have it. Precedent. And here you have Saudi Arabia's highest religious authority declaring IS "enemy number one of Islam". So they should do something about that. They. Not us.