Faced with Compounding Failures in Iraq, Obama Opts for Escalation

June 11th, 2015 - by admin

Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com – 2015-06-11 00:29:53

US Troops to Set Up New Base Outside of ISIS-Held Ramadi

US Troops to Set Up New Base Outside of ISIS-Held Ramadi
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com

(June 10, 2015) — While the Pentagon and the Obama Administration continue to loudly insist that they are not involved in any ground operations in Iraq, the announcement of another 450 troops being sent into the nation is once again underscoring how much the strategy centers around putting troops where ISIS might attack them and justify further escalation.

Though presented as trainers slash advisers, these new ground troops are being sent to set up a brand new US military base at Taqaddum, just 15 miles from the Anbar capital of Ramadi, which was captured by ISIS only weeks previous.

Officials are presenting the site of the new base as necessary for the Pentagon’s determination to get closer ties between the Iraqi military and Sunni tribal fighters, who are centered around Anbar. Taqaddum is also right near where all the Shi’ite militias are being rallied by the Iraqi military, and perhaps more importantly right on the front line.

The Pentagon has been talking up getting the Sunnis more involved in the fighting for awhile, but with several Sunni tribes publicly joining sides with ISIS in recent days, it’s not clear there are enough left to shift the balance on the Iraqi government’s side.

The Pentagon clearly sees fighting ISIS as part of this deployment too, saying the troops who arrive in 6-8 weeks will include about 100 advisers and the rest will mostly be security forces to protect those advisers, necessary since they’re being placed conspicuously in harm’s way.

Obama Not Ruling Out Additional Escalation in ISIS War
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com

(June 10, 2015) — President Obama’s talk of the need for a complete strategy in the ISIS war earlier this week was followed up almost immediately last night by the announcement of another 450 ground troops being sent to Iraq. The troops will be heading to Anbar, where all the fighting is going on. Cue the usual protestations about them not being combat troops.

New strategy almost always means escalation, and US officials capped off this latest escalation with an ominous warning that the president has “not ruled out additional steps” against ISIS, and some reports that they could quickly bring the new troops number to around 1,000.

When a US war is going badly, it seems that political leaders seem to accept that the “safe” move is to stay the course and double down with more troops/money/bombs. The war is going so badly at this point, however, that they haven’t even finished announcing the last escalation while they’re already preparing us for the next.

A similar flurry of escalations happened last fall, but the administration had seemingly stopped that around the mid-term elections, and went back to trying to assure the public everything was well in hand. Now, with the fall of Ramadi, that claim isn’t working so well, so it’s back to adding troops to the war, while assuring everyone that the strategy is sound, and the whole reason it isn’t working is that Iraqi troops just don’t want it hard enough.

Iraqi Shi’ite Militias Accuse US of Deliberately Targeting Them
Pentagon Issues Unconvincing Denial of Attacks

Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com

(June 10, 2015) — Iraqi Shi’ite militias are threatening retaliation against US forces in the country today, claiming the several recent incidents of friendly fire deaths in airstrikes proved that the Pentagon was deliberately targeting Shi’ite militias during the fighting against ISIS.

The recent incidents took place in Anbar Province, where thousands of Shi’ite militia fighters have been rushed by the government to try to resist a recent ISIS expansion, particularly around the recently taken over city of Ramadi.

The Pentagon, used to resting on its laurels with the default denial that anyone but ISIS were killed in any of their airstrikes, issued what must be the least credible denial possible by insisting they don’t have any planes flying over Anbar in the first place, despite this being where all the fighting in Iraq is lately and despite the Pentagon itself issuing statements almost every single day talking about airstrikes in the Anbar Province.

That’s not to say that the US deliberately attacked the Shi’ites, but the Pentagon’s determination to deny any wrongdoing under any circumstances is ringing so hollow at this point that there is very little reason for anyone to give them the benefit of the doubt.

With the Iraqi government increasingly reliant on the Shi’ite militias to do their fighting, the risk of a falling out between them and the Pentagon could be very bad for the US indeed, as if the Abadi government has to pick sides, they’ll be virtually obliged to back the Shi’ites.

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