In late May, ISIS militants scored an important victory, capturing Ramadi in western Iraq, and surprising nearly everyone, given that Iraqi forces easily outnumbered their enemy. Soon after, there was considerable talk about the Obama administration pursuing a shift in U.S. strategy.
With this in mind, NBC News reports that the administration is sending “450 more U.S. military troops as trainers to help Iraq’s military” as Iraq eyes recapturing Ramadi.
“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,” according to a statement by the White House released on Wednesday. “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 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,” the statement continued. U.S. forces are already training Iraqi forces at the al-Assad airbase which is due west of Ramadi.
As Rachel noted on the show last night, this has the practical result of effectively establishing a new U.S. military base in Iraq.
These 450 trainers will join the roughly 3,000 U.S. military personnel who already in Iraq.
Presumably, 10 months into the mission, Congress might take an interest in authorizing this mission – and perhaps even help shape it – but for now, GOP leaders have demonstrated little interest in doing actual work.
If you missed last night’s segment, here’s the clip: