Update: 4,000 U.S. troops head to Kuwait
More than 4,000 U.S. soldiers are heading to Kuwait, opening up the possibility of an intervention in Iraq after President Barack Obama asked Congress to authorize military action against terrorists in the Middle East.
The Commander-in-chief has ruled out large-scale U.S. ground combat operations similar to those in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he asked for the option to use military force against Islamic State fighters for three years.
If enacted, the president’s AUMF could effectively constrain the next president from waging a ground war against the Islamic State group until at least 2018. Aides warned that the White House may tweak the final details before releasing the document publicly.
In advance of the release, top White House and State Department officials have been briefing lawmakers and Congressional staffers about their proposed legislation. Two senior Congressional aides relayed the details to me.
The president’s AUMF for the fight against Islamic State would restrict the use of ground troops through a prohibition on “enduring offensive ground operations,” but provide several exemptions. First, all existing ground troops, including the 3,000 U.S. military personnel now on the ground in Iraq, would be explicitly excluded from the restrictions. After that, the president would be allowed to deploy new military personnel in several specific roles: advisers, special operations forces, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers to assist U.S. air strikes and Combat Search and Rescue personnel.
Approximately 1,000 paratroopers from the Army’s famed 82nd Airborne Division will deploy to Iraq early next year to help the Iraqi security forces take on the Islamic State, the Pentagon announced Friday.
The paratroopers are preparing for a nine-month deployment, according to a spokeswoman for the 82nd Airborne.
Approximately 300 troops from other Army, Air Force and Marine Corps units will also deploy to provide “enabler” support in areas such as counterintelligence, logistics, and signals, Kirby said.
The Pentagon has announced today the creation of a new military command, dubbed Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, which will oversee the war against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.
The United States is shifting more attack and surveillance aircraft from Afghanistan to the air war against the Islamic State, deepening American involvement in the conflict and presenting new challenges for the military planners who work here in central South Carolina, far from the targets they will pick for those aircraft.
A dozen A-10 ground-attack planes have recently moved from Afghanistan to Kuwait, where they are to start flying missions supporting Iraqi ground troops as early as this week, military officials said. About half a dozen missile-firing Reaper drones will also be redeployed from Afghanistan in the next several weeks.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress on Thursday that he wouldn’t rule out sending a small number of American forces to fight alongside Iraqi troops during some of the more complex missions against the Islamic State.
“I’m not predicting at this point that I would recommend that those forces in Mosul and along the border would need to be accompanied by U.S. forces, but we’re certainly considering it,” Army Gen. Martin Dempsey told the House Armed Services Committee.
A senior military official says that American military advisory teams will now go to Iraq’s western Anbar province where Islamic State militants have been gaining ground and slaying men, women and children.
The teams are part of President Barack Obama’s new directive to expand the U.S. mission in Iraq by deploying another 1,500 U.S. troops to serve as advisers, trainers and security personnel.
The official said it is likely that the bulk of the additional troops will be in Iraq by the end of the year. This would bring the total U.S. forces in Iraq to about 3,100, and would mark their first return to Anbar since the war ended
I wonder why this announcement was made today. I don’t suppose they knew they would be sending more troops to Iraq last week? Nawh. Why, he is, “…least political president in modern U.S. history..”