Anbar Province in Iraq, scene of some of the most bitter fighting of the Iraq War, is inundated with Islamic State fighters. CNN reports that the Obama administration is going to send an unknown number of US troops back to Anbar to “advise” Iraqi security forces.
The administration claims no change in mission for the US military, but the chances are pretty good that some of our people will come under fire from IS terrorists. Anbar is reportedly on the knife’s edge of falling to Islamic State so you have to wonder that if there’s no change in mission now, there appears to be one on the horizon.
“From the beginning of the campaign, we have said that we would expand this type of support to the Iraqi government should they act in a manner that was representative of the security interests of all Iraqis,” Thomas said.
U.S. officials maintain that Iraqi support for Sunni tribes going on the offensive against ISIS will be a necessary part in the effort to defeat the militants, who are also called ISIL and refer to themselves as the Islamic State.
In a news conference with reporters Thursday, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Joint Chiefs chairman, signaled the possibility of the new role when he said the Iraqi government had not yet requested U.S. military support in efforts to defend a Sunni tribe that has suffered mass executions at the hands of ISIS militants.
“That’s why we need to expand the train-advise-and-assist mission into the Al- Anbar Province,” Dempsey said. “But the precondition for that is that the government of Iraq is willing to arm the tribes.”
Dempsey said the United States had “positive indications” the Iraqi government was prepared to do that, but had not yet acted.
Thomas said such a mission would hopefully open the door to the establishment of an Iraqi National Guard while also helping to push back ISIS control of the province.
There is no indication from Pentagon officials on when such a mission could begin.
Islamic State terrorists just executed 50 Sunni tribal chieftains and some women in a small town near Ramadi, apparently because they grumbled about being evicted from their homes by the terrorists. This massacre occurred on the heels of another mass slaughter on Thursday where 48 Sunnis were gunned down. And the 600 Shiites who were massacred early in the week barely made the papers so commonplace this sort of thing has become.
Into this maelstrom of violence and savagery, we are going to drop a few dozen or hundred US soldiers — targets all — and hope they can put some backbone into Iraqi forces who have a nasty habit of running away whenever IS shows itself. It will take a minor miracle for our advisors to succeed.
Arming the Sunni tribes worked before, but that was against al-Qaeda’s hit and run terrorists. It’s quite another thing to stand up against artillery and armor in combat. No doubt the tribesmen are brave, but will they fight for a government that has yet to prove it is interested in their welfare?
Another half measure by the Obama administration.