Tags: Iraq in Crisis | ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | War on Terrorism | Boots | Dempsey | Hagel

Boots on the Ground! US Troops May Help Retake Mosul

By    |   Thursday, 13 Nov 2014 06:58 PM

The military campaign against Islamic State (ISIS) militants could expand to include U.S. forces fighting alongside Iraqi troops, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey says.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in testimony before Congress on Thursday, praised Iraqi forces for doing a better job, but said a mission to move into Islamic State forces-controlled Mosul, or to restore the Iraqi border with Syria, will be much tougher and more complex, according to Military Times.

"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," Dempsey told the House Armed Services Committee.

The United States has a force in Iraq now that serves as advisers and trainers, Dempsey said, and "any expansion of that, I think, would be equally modest."

"I just don't foresee a circumstance when it would be in our interest to take this fight on ourselves with a large military contingent," he said, Military Times reported.

Dempsey's remarks matched the testimony he gave to Congress in September when he raised the possibility of an expanded U.S. role. President Barack Obama has said the operation won't involve U.S. ground troops.

The New York Times reports the congressional testimony illustrates the challenge facing Obama to hold to his vow of no boots on the ground in Iraq — even as his generals are hinting there may be no other way to defeat the Islamic State militants.

U.S. and coalition forces have conducted about 900 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, fighting a core militant force of 15,000 to 18,000 fighters, according to Military Times.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, also testifying Thursday, said the coalition has grown with 16 new members since September and has made progress, with the militants' advances stalling and in some instances reversed by airstrikes and other military operations, Military Times reports.

"This pressure is having an effect on potential [ISIS] recruits and collaborators — striking a blow to morale and recruitment," Hagel said. "We know that. Our intelligence is very clear on that. And as Iraqi forces build strength, the tempo and intensity of our coalition's air campaign will accelerate in tandem."

The testimony came the same day the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ratcheted up the rhetoric in an audio recording, urging the militants to fight and declaring, "We see America and its allies stumbling in fear, weakness, impotence, and failure."

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The military campaign against Islamic State (ISIS) militants could expand to include U.S. forces fighting alongside Iraqi troops, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey says.
Boots, Dempsey, Hagel, ISIS, US troops, Iraq, Mosul, Syria
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2014-58-13
Thursday, 13 Nov 2014 06:58 PM
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