The US once appeared hesitant to brand the coalition effort against ISIS, only revealing the name of the operation nearly two months after bombing began.
But Operation Inherent Resolve is now in its fourth month, and policymakers seem to realise that they need to put a public face on a campaign that isn’t going to be over any time soon.
First, the coalition established a Joint Task Force with its own logo, which can be seen at right. The Task Force was set up by US Central Command to coordinate efforts against ISIS, and is “comprised of US military forces and personnel from more than 30 countries,” according to a December 8 press release. It had its first “coalition integration conference” during the first week of December.
In an email to Business Insider, a Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve spokesperson explained that the logo was “designed by one of the CJTF OIR public affairs staff members.”
“The swords and olive branch indicate the dual nature of the Coalition – the defeat of ISIL and the restoration of stability to the region,” the spokesperson wrote. “The 7 leaves of the olive branch represent the seven peoples of Iraq: (Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Turkoman, Assyrian, Yazidi, Armenian).
“The colours used are a reflection of military assets – brown and green for land components; blue for air and naval. The 3 stars indicate the Command, while the colour gold represents the quality of excellence performed by the command in the nation’s defence.”
Military iconography is rife with images of an olive wreath enclosing swords — the Israel Defence Forces and the Lebanese and Australian military all use version of the image, as does the US’s Judge Advocate General Corps. The pair of scimitars in the insignia also brings to mind the logo of Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry.
Saudi Arabia is part of the anti-ISIS coalition and has aided in operations in Iraq. It’s possible that the inclusion of an iconic Middle Eastern weapon was meant to highlight the role of the Arab members of the coalition, which also include the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, and Jordan (officers of the US Marine Corps also carry a curved blade called a Mameluke Sword that resembles a scimitar, and is based on a weapon presented to a Marine lieutenant by a North African leader in 1805).
Meanwhile, a Twitter profile claiming to be “the official Twitter account of the international coalition for Operation Inherent Resolve” appeared on December 8th, not long after the Task Force was officially announced. While the account has not yet been verified, its second tweet contained a bureaucratic clarification, noting that the Task Force will now handle public affairs related to the mission, and not the Tampa-based US Central Command.
The US-led campaign has been responsible for 1,200 airstrikes against ISIS and various Al Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria. It includes 1500 US military advisers assisting the Iraqi Security Forces in the fight against the group, with plans to increase the number to 3,100.
Most the recently, the coalition has focused airstrikes around Raqqa, Syria, the capital of ISIS’s self-proclaimed “caliphate,” after air support helped the border city of Kobane hold out against a prolonged siege from the jihadist group.