US to send 1,500 more troops to strike back at Daesh

2014-11-10 05:08:09 | Al Muslim News
US to send 1,500 more troops to strike back at Daesh


President Barack Obama on Friday unveiled plans to send 1,500 additional troops to Iraq to help Baghdad government forces strike back at Daesh militants, roughly doubling the number of US soldiers in the country. The move marked a deepening US commitment in the open-ended war against the group, three months since American aircraft launched air strikes against the extremists. The move extends the US training and advising mission to new areas as Iraqi and Kurdish forces prime themselves to recapture ground lost, including in the volatile Anbar province in the west where the Iraqi army has been on the retreat. The reinforcements were "part of our strategy for strengthening partners on the ground" but the troops would have a "non-combat role," the White House said in a statement. The United States already is carrying out air strikes against the group in Iraq and Syria but officials insisted the decision did not signal "mission creep" towards another all-out ground war. "They will not be introduced into combat," a senior administration official told reporters. The US forces will be carrying out the same mission that has been outlined from the start -- to help the Iraqi forces on the ground, the official said. "The mission is not changing at all for our service members," the official said. "We are adding personnel to better carry out the mission." Iraq request The 1,500 troops will include roughly 600 advisors to help Iraqi forces plan operations and nearly 900 trainers who will be deployed across the country, as Washington steps up the pressure on militants who have grabbed large areas of Iraq and Syria in a brutal campaign marked by atrocities. To fund the growing war effort, Obama also planned to request $5.6 billion from Congress, including $1.6 billion to train and arm the Iraqi forces, officials said. The additional troops would not deploy until Congress approved the funding. The White House presented the troop plan only days after Obama's fellow Democrats suffered a sweeping defeat in midterm elections with Republicans gaining full control of Congress. Republican Buck McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, voiced doubts that the president was doing enough to counter the group and other extremists. "I remain concerned that the president's strategy is insufficient," McKeon said. Obama opted to send more troops after discussions with commanders -- including the officer running the air war, General Lloyd Austin -- and aides over the last several weeks, officials said..

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