On November 7, Barrack Obama has approved the deployment of additional U.S. non-combat personnel to Iraq. According to a statement given by the Pentagon Press Secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby, “up to 1,500” troops are to be deployed “over the coming months, in a non-combat role”, in order to “expand [the U.S.] advise and assist mission and initiate a comprehensive training effort for Iraqi forces”. The same source mentions that “U.S. Central Command will establish two expeditionary advise and assist operations centers, in locations outside of Baghdad and Erbil”, with the purpose of providing support “for the Iraqis at the brigade headquarters level and above”, as well as “several sites”, located “in northern, western, and southern Iraq”, which will be used to “accommodate the training of 12 Iraqi brigades, specifically nine Iraqi army and three Peshmerga brigades”; when trained, these forces “will enable Iraq to better defend its citizens, its borders, and its interests against the threat of ISIL”.
The additional 1500 troops that are to be deployed are “roughly doubling” the number of U.S. personnel in Iraq, which “greatly expands the scope of the U.S. campaign and the geographic distribution of American forces, some of whom will head into Iraq's fiercely contested western Anbar province for the first time to act as advisors”. However, according to ABC News, the plan is “contingent on Congress approving” Obama’s “nearly $5.6 billion request to fund the expanded mission”. If the Congress does approve the funding, the deployment could begin shortly, “but it will take a couple months to get the training sites ready, and the actual training will take six to seven months”.
It is worth mentioning that Obama’s decision to expand the U.S. military mission to Iraq comes shortly after the Republicans won control of the Senate during the midterm elections. It is known that some Republicans have previously criticized Obama’s Iraq campaign, which mainly consists of air strikes and missions that have the purpose of advising and training local troops. If all goes according to plan, in 8 to 9 months at best, Iraq’s power and capabilities to pursue its security interests against the resilient ISIL will be significantly boosted.
„Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby on the Authorization to Deploy Additional Forces to Iraq”, U.S. Department of Defense, September 7, 2014, accessed at the Internet address http://www.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=17022&adbid=530815100035158016&adbpl=tw&adbpr=66369181&cid=social_20141107_35229857
Phil STEWART, Roberta RAMPTON, “Obama to send 1,500 more troops to Iraq as campaign expands”, Reuters, November 7, 2014, accessed at the Internet address http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/07/us-mideast-crisis-usa-iraq-idUSKBN0IR22I20141107
Lolita C. BALDOR, “Obama Authorizes 1,500 More Troops for Iraq”, ABC News, November 7, 2014, accessed at the Internet address http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/obama-authorizes-1500-troops-iraq-26765796