In furtherance of his comprehensive strategy to degrade and destroy the ISIL terrorist group, President Obama has approved additional actions to enhance the implementation of the counter-ISIL campaign.
To improve the capabilities and effectiveness of partners on the ground, the President authorized the deployment of up to 450 additional U.S. military personnel to train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces at Taqaddum military base in eastern Anbar province. The President made this decision after a request from Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and upon the recommendation of Secretary Carter and Chairman Dempsey, and with the unanimous support of his national security team. These new advisors will work to build capacity of Iraqi forces, including local tribal fighters, to improve their ability to plan, lead, and conduct operations against ISIL in eastern Anbar under the command of the Prime Minister. This effort will complement the efforts of U.S. and coalition trainers at the four previously-established training sites in Al-Asad, Besmaya, Erbil, and Taji, where over 9,000 Iraqi troops have already been trained, with an additional 3,000 currently in training. These additional U.S. troops will not serve in a combat role and will augment the 3,100 U.S. troops who have already deployed to Iraq.
This train, advise, and assist mission builds on lessons learned during the past several months and is just one aspect of our commitment to support the Iraqi Security Forces. Toward this end, the President has also directed the expedited delivery of essential equipment and materiel in coordination with the central government to Iraqi forces, including Peshmerga and tribal fighters, operating under Iraqi command, to ensure that our partners have the equipment needed to effectively fight ISIL.
The President also approved a comprehensive approach to aid the Iraqi government’s efforts to support the people and communities living in areas newly liberated from ISIL. At the President’s direction, the United States has been working closely with the Iraqi government, the global counter-ISIL coalition, and the United Nations to develop a holistic framework to help the Iraqi government provide sustained security, services and assistance, and local governance among other key support. The United States fully supports the development of an international fund facilitated by the United Nations to help these communities across Iraq recover.
More broadly, we will continue our efforts to leverage all instruments of power to counter ISIL globally and most importantly, to protect the US Homeland. Thousands of foreign fighters – including Europeans and some Americans – have joined ISIL in Syria and Iraq. We remain concerned that these trained fighters will return to their home countries and carry out attacks and seek to inspire supporters to conduct attacks at home, and the President directed his national security team to intensify efforts with coalition partners to stem the flow of foreign fighters to and from Iraq and Syria.
The President also reaffirmed U.S. support for the efforts of Prime Minister Al-Abadi and other Iraqi leaders to build an inclusive and effective governance structure within which all of Iraq’s diverse communities feel that they have a say in determining the future of their country. In this regard, the U.S. will fully support the plan endorsed by the Council of Ministers on May 19 for the liberation of Anbar, as well as the Iraqi Government’s priority of de-centralization to empower local communities in line with the Iraqi Constitution. This “functional federalism” effort being pursued by the Iraqi government is integral to ensuring that ISIL – once defeated – can never again return to Iraqi soil.
And while mission creep allows the number of US troops in Iraq to increase, there's also the issue of bases.
Barbara Starr and Alexandra Jaffe (CNN) report:
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said Thursday that the U.S. military strategy in Iraq could require opening multiple outposts at Iraqi bases near the front lines of battle, which would mean sending hundreds of additional troops to the region to help fight ISIS.
Dempsey told reporters aboard a plane with him in Italy that the plan the White House announced earlier this week to establish a base at Taqaddam could be replicated in other parts of Iraq. He said they are considering bases that he described as "lily pads" near the front lines that would support Iraqi troops.
And on the topic of the US troops, Micah Zenko (The Atlantic) offers a walk through:
It is easy to conceive of this latest limited addition of U.S. troops to Iraq, and nearby countries, in isolation, and as the logical and necessary next step in the expanding campaign against ISIS. However, the White House has been announcing troop deployments, with varying justifications and objectives, for over a year now. If you are one of the few people truly interested in how the United States has gradually slid into this open-ended conflict, with little public debate, and zero congressional input, it is worthwhile to review some of the notable milestones along the way.
And he's correct about "one of the few people truly interested."
You can go to Twitter and find various fools Tweeting about what happened prior to January 2009 (when Barack was sworn in) while ignoring every year since,
You can see idiots Tweet about how IS is because of 2003 or 2004 or 2005 while ignoring when the Islamic State gets it foothold in Iraq -- Nouri al-Maliki's second term as prime minister (2010 - 2014).
The attacks on the Sunnis allowed the Islamic State to find support in Iraq.
The failure to address these issues -- the needed political solution Barack Obama spoke of June 19, 2014 -- is why the Islamic State continues to have a foothold in Iraq.
These are the points General Ray Odierno made on CBS This Morning yesterday (see Thursday's snapshot).
The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and Jane Fonda -- updated:
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