Not surprisingly, the terrorist attacks in Brussels have angered the Belgians to the point where they have committed to re-mobilizing their fleet of Lockheed-Martin F-16AM Fighting Falcons as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. While Belgium’s Air Component had limited its participation to specific areas, it’s fairly safe to say we’ll be seeing involvement on a much broader scale than before.
In the frame of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit, Belgium has confirmed the intention to carry out air-strikes on Daesh targets as part of the US-led coalition after the Brussels attacks of last Tuesday.
“In the framework of the agreement with the Netherlands, we will resume the mission of our F-16s, we will hold a debate in the parliament and the government to decide whether it is possible to expand the mandate of F-16s,” said the prime minister of Belgium, Charles Michel, on Friday, during a joint press conference with John Kerry.
Citizens of the United States were among the victims of Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels: “Americans were among the dead” said prime minister Michel to the US Secretary of State.
The operation itself will take place under the wing of U.S.-led coalition that has already been conducting air-strikes against ISIS targets both in Iraq and Syria, since 2014. On October 5 2014, Australian and Belgian fighter jets have flown their first armed combat mission in Iraq against the IS of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). However, no official request in order to conduct the attacks has been received from Damascus by the coalition.
Belgium has contributed with six F-16 bombers to the U.S.-led air campaign since 2014, after Belgium’s parliament overwhelmingly approved joining the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS in late September 2014, but limited its operations to Iraq, just like France, Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands did at that point.