Thursday, June 11, 2015

The immediate responses to Barack's announcement

In the wake of the announcement that more US troops will be sent into Iraq, CNN offers a breakdown of how the numbers have added up since Barack Obama began sending troops in last year.

  • That chart does not include Special-Ops, nor FBI or Justice Dept officials, nor the CIA.

    The chart covers only those designated as trainers.

    Of the latest 450 that the White House announced yesterday, Greg Jaffe and Missy Ryan (Washington Post) note:

    Rather, the additional troops are being sent to aid Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s outreach to disaffected Sunnis and bolster the Iraqi army, whose feckless performance has left the Iraqi leader vulnerable to challenges from Shiite hard-liners more closely aligned with Iran. A weakened Abadi, U.S. officials fear, would strengthen the position of Shiite Iran, which has cast itself as Iraq’s only effective partner in a largely sectarian war with the Sunni-dominated Islamic State.

    “The trend lines [for Abadi] are not good,” said Doug Ollivant, a former military planner in Baghdad and senior fellow at the New America Foundation. “He needs a win — and preferably a string of two or three of them.”

    The announcement yesterday has many implications.  CBS News notes one, "This new approach means the long-planned fight to retake the northern Iraq city of Mosul, which fell to ISIS one year ago, will likely be delayed until Iraqi forces, still divided by sectarian suspicions, attempt to regain Ramadi."  Another implication?    Davan Maharaj (Los Angeles Times) observers, "It's hard to overstate Islam's Shiite-Sunni rivalry in Iraq. President Obama's planned new training camp harks back to the 'Anbar Awakening,' when the U.S. paid Sunni tribal fighters to help defeat Sunni radicals in the key -- and largely Sunni -- Anbar province. Then, as now, government Shiite militias had no credibility in Anbar and stood no chance. Can it work again? "

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