ISIS soldiers celebrate their capture of areas in Iraq. Photo by The Guardian
Amid a rampant insurgency in Iraq and forced talks between the U.S. and Iran, President Obama has ordered the urgent deployment of several hundred armed troops in and around Iraq.
The Guardian reports:
Barack Obama discussed the crisis with national security team on Monday night after earlier notifying Congress that up to 275 troops could be sent to Iraq to provide support and security for personnel and the US embassy in Baghdad.
While Obama has vowed to keep US troops out of combat in Iraq, he said in his notification to Congress that the personnel moving into the region were equipped for direct fighting. In addition, officials told Reuters that the White House was considering sending a contingent of special forces to train and advise beleaguered Iraqi troops, many of whom have fled their posts in the face of the insurgency.
The moves were made in advance of any decision Obama may yet make on attacking the Isis fighters currently threatening Iraq.
About 170 US personnel have already arrived in Baghdad – almost as many as those already there – with another 100 nearby outside Iraq to assist, rear admiral John Kirby said in a statement from the Pentagon late Monday. Obama had earlier sent a letter to members of Congress informing them of the decision – a signal that the administration does not want to risk another disaster at an under-guarded embassy akin to the 2012 assault on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya that remains a major controversy on the right.
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—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.