Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Mission Creep in Iraq

Update: The inevitable occurred Tuesday in Iraq when a Navy special forces operative met his end at the hands of ISIS. The SEAL was killed fighting in northern Iraq.  He is the third American to die in combat there, and typifies the deepening involvement of the Pentagon in a conflict it supposedly ended five years ago.  The sailor was fighting with Kurdish peshmerga near Tel Asqof, twenty-eight kilometers north of the ISIS stronghold of Mosul.  Mosul is in the Pentagon's crosshairs; it intends to retake the city as part of the effort to degrade the terror organization.  ISIS briefly occupied the Tel Asqof but were driven off by Kurdish troops with US air support.

19.04.16 During a visit to the war zone, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced more American troops and advanced weaponry will be sent to Iraq to support its army's attempt to retake the northern city of Mosul from ISIS. Two American special forces have been killed in combat since the US withdrew most of its armed forces in 2011. The Pentagon will send Apache attack copters and missile launchers to support the upcoming assault on Mosul that has been in the hands of the terror group for two years. The Current Occupant told a media interviewer that the city should fall by the end of this year; he hopes. Up until now the Iraqi army has proved remarkably inept, requiring deepening US military involvement in the sectarian war it helped create. President Obama does not want to leave office with a major defeat for American Iraq policy on the books.  About two hundred more American "advisors" are now authorized to accompany smaller Iraqi units in operations close to the front lines.   The latest incremental increase in military force in Iraq is part of a two year pattern.  However, the mission creep has not always been acknowledged by the administration or the Pentagon.  When Baghdad was close to falling to ISIS in 2014 the US rushed in 1500 troops to support the approximately 170 that stayed behind the general withdrawal. That level quickly rose to 3000 by April 2015. The current authorized level is 4000, but personnel spending less than four months in the zone are not counted towards overall troop levels. More American troops seem likely to revisit the Iraq war and possibly die there, especially if the Iraqi army proves itself incapable of retaking its second city.