The Obama administration said Sunday that “several” Arab nations had offered to join in airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but any sustained military campaign does not appear imminent, and is likely to require an even more significant commitment from other nations and fighting forces in the region.

In interviews and public statements, administration and military officials described a battle plan that would not accelerate in earnest until disparate groups of Iraqi forces, Kurds and Syrian rebels stepped up to provide the fighting forces on the ground. Equipping, training and coordinating that effort is a lengthy process, officials cautioned.

American officials have made it clear they do not want the airstrikes to get ahead of the ground action against ISIS, which they said would take time to mass. “This isn’t going to be ‘shock and awe’ with hundreds of airstrikes,” one official said, referring to the initial attack on Baghdad at the opening of the Iraq war in March 2003. “We don’t want this to look like an American war.” […]