As ISIS creeps closer to the capital of Iraq, President Obama has announced that the United States will be sending US ground troops that are “equipped for combat” to the troubled country for purposes of defending the US embassy in Baghdad. Obama reassured Congress in an open letter than the deployment would be to protect the embassy only, and not to join the fierce fighting that rages outside of the Iraqi capital city.
A White House official also said Monday that the administration is considering, but hasn’t committed to the deployment of a small contingent of Special Forces to Iraq, specifically to aid Mouri al-Maliki’s government. Washington is also weighing the possibility of drone strikes against the militants, as ISIS clashes with the Iraqi security forces over control of a strategic northern town.
Speaking under condition of anonymity, a US official told the AP that up to 100 special forces troops would operate under the authority of the US State Department, but wouldn’t be authorized for combat. This new shift in strategy comes as the Obama administration announced it was willing to take the additional step of cooperating with Iran over the security issue in Iraq. Secretary of State John Kerry said that he’s not ruling out potential joint US-Iranian military projects to head off the Sunni extremists.
The State Department has reinforced security at the US embassy and has begun sending personnel to more stable places, such as Basra, the Shiite-dominated south of Iraq, and Irbil, which is in the Kurdish region. Jordan was also on the list of places that embassy personnel were being sent, although according to State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki, most of the staff will remain in place. The embassy, which is located in Baghdad’s Green Zone, has 5,000 personnel and is the largest US Diplomatic post in the world.
According to Rear Admiral John Kirby, a small number of military personnel are helping to keep State Department facilities safe as well. He added that the US military has “airlift assets at the ready” should the State Department request them. Additionally, around 100 Marines and Army soldiers have been dispatched to Baghdad to help with embassy security.
The goal of the United States Military and State Department is to keep our people safe first and foremost, although in the process, they keep “#Benghazi” from morphing into “#Baghdadgazi.” The Republicans have already hammered Obama over his withdrawal from the country, and their revisionist historians have attacked President Obama by claiming the current mess in the country his fault. This move by the State Department is overshadowed by the policy failures at Benghazi — the real Benghazi — and they certainly don’t want to see a repeat with the largest US embassy in the world.
In one way, this is what the right-wing supporters of the perpetual global war wanted. It’s not a total capitulation, though. The troops aren’t there to fight ISIS — they’re present to defend American embassy personnel — which is what the Republicans would support given what happened at Benghazi, right? What’s more, there’s talk of working with Iran — something that’s got the warhawks and chickenhawks on the right alike breathing fire and sputtering froth, since just months previous they were pushing for Iranian sanctions over bills that would help end rape in the military.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Republicans condemn this move. It’s everything they wanted — except it’s not, since this isn’t a full-scale deployment to win the rich cats of Halliburton money, Obama went around Congress to do it, we’re open to working with Iran, and Obama’s not claiming God told him too.
source: Dailymail Online