There are now a total of 500 U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq, between the newly deployed Special Forces teams and the existing military contingent at the U.S. embassy compound in the Green Zone in Baghdad. As of today, according to the Pentagon, some of the Special Forces teams are beginning to fan out around the country, ostensibly to assess the state of the Iraqi Army and recommend the best course of action for the U.S. to take in a rapidly deteriorating situation. The Special Forces teams, however, are being accompanied by an undisclosed number of Predator drones armed with Hellfire missiles as “protection.” Well-informed U.S. military sources indicate that these teams are actually being sent out to identify and flag targets for drone and fighter jet bombings. And one U.S. intelligence source suggested Friday that the alleged Syrian Air Force bombing of ISIS positions on the Iraqi side of the border may have actually been a cover story to conceal the fact that U.S. drones are already engaged in military operations targeting ISIS and allied tribal and ex-Iraqi military forces.
Obama Claims He Can Go to War with Iraq Without Congress
Thus, the Iraq war has already restarted with US forces, and without Congressional approval.
The Pentagon also confirmed that the new U.S. military operations in Iraq are being directed by Major General Dana Pittard, who was previously deputy commander of the U.S. troops in Kuwait. His operations are called Joint Forces Land Component Command-Iraq.
Fighting continued on Friday, with news reports of a bombing in a Shi’ite neighborhood inside the capital city of Baghdad, killing 12 people. Reportedly, ISIS and allied forces have taken over two towns south of Baghdad—Iskandariya and Mahmoudiya—which are key access points to southern Iraq. U.S. military analysts have told LaRouchePAC on Friday that they believe that the rebel forces are encircling Baghdad in preparation for more terrorist attacks inside the city. There are also conflicting reports from the north of the capital, where Iraqi government officials claim that they have retaken parts of the critical city of Tikrit. While Sunni tribes allied with ISIS have taken control of border crossings into Syria and Jordan, Lebanese officials are also bracing for an ISIS assault in coming weeks. Thursday a suicide car bomb exploded before arriving at its target, a Shi’ite area south of Beirut. But several people were killed and 20 wounded when the car blew up, near a Lebanese Army checkpoint.
Why Did Obama Ignore Threats to Iraq Posed by the ISIS Terrorists?
President Obama issued a new $65.8 billion Overseas Contingency Operations request for FY15, seeking $5 billion for counter-terrorism operations in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. $500 million of those funds are directly to go to Syrian opposition, with no restrictions on provision of lethal aid. This alone marks a significant escalation of U.S. involvement in the regional war which has spread from Syria into Iraq and beyond.
Russia Denounces U.S. $500 Mil Request To ‘Train/Equip’ Rebels
According to U.S. intelligence sources, the funds are directed at a new Syrian rebel armed force called the Syrian National Army, which is an amalgam of the Free Syrian Army and the Saudi-created Islamic Army. Those ostensibly more “moderate” Islamists are to be part of a consolidated rebel force to battle both against the Assad government and ISIS in Syria. The sources warned that, while the plans look good on paper, no such previous efforts in Syria have worked out, and in the end, the “vetted” rebel fighters and their weapons wound up in the hands of ISIS and Al Nusra Front.
Secretary of State John Kerry was in Paris on Thursday, meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and other Gulf states to solicit their support for the latest U.S. plan to combat the spreading jihadist forces. Kerry also sought the support of the Saudis and Jordanians in pressuring for a more inclusive governing coalition in Iraq that could bridge the divide between the Shi’ites and the Kurds and Sunnis.
According to several well-informed Pentagon and retired military sources, the preliminary reports coming back from the U.S. Special Forces teams on the ground in Iraq is that the Iraq Army is in a state of accelerating disintegration. While the Army has 14 divisions on paper, in reality there are no more than seven divisions of troops and officers, and by one account, not a single Iraqi Army division is combat ready. This is reflected in the fact that the rebel forces have won every single battle against the Iraqi government troops. It is reported that as many as 30,000 Iraqi Shi’ites, who have been fighting in Syria on behalf of the Assad government, are now coming back to Iraq to join in the defense of their country.