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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Iraq objects to US sending more special forces

Recently, U.S. Secretary of State Ashton Carter announced he would send special operations forces into Iraq to assist local troops in fighting the Islamic State.

Carter said at the time:
 “In full coordination with the government of Iraq, we’re deploying a specialized expeditionary targeting force to assist Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces to put even more pressure on ISIL.”The U.S. had announced earlier it was sending about 50 special operations troops to Syria. An Al Jazeera reporter Rosalind Jordan reporting from Washington said:"We don't know yet how many forces are going to be deployed.The Iraqi government wants US troops to be helping with the effort and move ISIL off its territory."
In spite of the U.S. claim that sending the troops had been coordinated with the Iraqi government and other claims of the Iraqi government asking for the troops, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reacted to the announcement in a manner suggesting there had been no coordination with the government:"The Iraqi government stresses that any military operation or the deployment of any foreign forces - special or not - in any place in Iraq cannot happen without its approval and coordination and full respect of Iraqi sovereignty."
He also said Iraq did not need foreign ground troops and had not requested that any foreign nation send any. Al-Abadi claimed Iraq would regard any foreign country sending troops into the country as a hostile act, if it were not approved by the Iraqi government. Iraq has already demanded that Turkey withdraw troops it sent to northern Iraq.
The reason for Abadi's objections to the deployment probably lie in the political situation in Iraq. There are a large number of Shi'ite militias who are a powerful political influence. They do not want Americans on the ground in Iraq and have even warned that they could shift to fighting U.S. troops rather than the Islamic State, according to one article. If Abadi does not want to be seen as at the beck and call of the U.S., he needs to be careful. He may have actually been consulted by the U.S., as claimed, but he now has to change his tune to escape strong political opposition. Apparently the U.S. thinks it can work around Abadi's objections. He has been a close ally of the U.S. so far as he can be. Iraqi MP Sami Askari, an ally of Abadi, suggested the U.S. could just add 100 or more troops at a time but without making any public announcement, and no one would reject this. It remains to be seen if Iraq will demand the U.S. special forces be withdrawn. It seems unlikely.
On the appended video, it is clear the U.S. administration does not want to speak of a combat role for troops in Iraq, even though the special forces are clearly involved in combat. Carter says the new role is just an extension of the advise and assist role of the several thousand troops already in Iraq. However, the extension even as described on the video involves a combat role.


Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/politics/op-ed-iraq-objects-to-deployment-of-us-special-forces-in-iraq/article/451475#ixzz3u80WkTfV

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