President Barack Obama on Wednesday ordered further 450 U.S. troops to be deployed to Iraq in order to advice and assist the Iraqi forces in their reclamation of territory from the Islamic State.
The decision comes as an answer to the special request from the Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, while he and President Obama where attending the G7 summit in Germany this week.
Obama made the decision after he said that the United Stated do not have a complete strategy in order to train the Iraqi troops, however this does not represent a change in mission.
The 450 additional troops will join the U.S. contingent of 3,100 U.S. troops already in Iraq. They will be deployed at the Taqaddum military base in eastern Anbar, about 15 miles from Ramadi, where they will train , advise and assist with tactics to the Iraqi officers on how to conduct their own operation. They will be given all of the essential equipment and material. The plan is to retake the conquered Ramadi and Fallujah with special training to the Kurdish peshmerga troops and the Sunni fighters, which are under the command of Iraqi government.
According to Reuters, the White House has stated that the decision comes after criticism after the fall of Ramadi and that is why the United States in order “to improve the capabilities and effectiveness of partners on the ground, the President authorized deployment of up to 450 additional U.S. military personnel to train and assist Iraqi Security Forces.”
According to Ash Carter, the U.S. Defense Secretary, the Iraqi forces “show no will to fight”, so to aid the Iraqi leader, the U.S. will give the best support in bolstering the morale of the troops to retake the strategically important city of Ramadi.
A source for Reuters says that Ben Rhodes, the President’s deputy national security adviser, has stated that the President is aware of the inherent risk of attack in volatile Anbar; however every measure and precaution that is necessary has been taken. He also stated that “The President hasn’t ruled out any additional steps. He is always open to considering refinements.”
President Obama is keeping to his refusal to send troops into combat in front lines and he will not send any forward air controllers, nor any Apache attack helicopters. Instead the focus will be on forcing the Iraqi troops to fight their own fight, with only a training assistance from American troops, with no direct involvement from their side, except for supplying where there is a shortage of food, fuel and weapons. White House officials do not consider this as an overhaul of Obama’s anti Islam State strategy, but there is a possibility of taking new unspecified steps.