US is to send more troops to Iraq, putting them near the front lines of the battle there to advise the Iraqi forces in war against IS militants.
Washington would deploy around 200 additional troops; mostly as consultants for the Iraqi troops as they progress towards Mosul, said the US defence officials
“As we see Iraqis willing to fight & gaining ground, let us make sure that we’re providing them more support,” said President Obama in an interview.
“My expectation is that by end of year, we’ll have created the conditions whereby Mosul will eventually fall,” he added.
US has also approved the usage of the Apache attack helicopters to aid Iraqis as they can deliver precision fire & rapid air support.
The advisers will escort Iraqi units of around 2,500 troops progressing near the front lines of the battle.
This change would allow them to offer a speedier advice to the Iraqi troops as they try to reclaim Mosul, likely opposing the stiff confrontation from a rooted enemy. Nevertheless, it could also leave the advisers more susceptible to the enemy artillery & mortars.
“This will put the Americans closer to action,” said Ash Carter, the U.S. Defence Secretary. “Their whole purpose’s to be able to help those forces respond in a more agile way,” he added.
The choice to expand U.S. military force was made in the close concert with the Iraqi authorities, said Ash Carter, who had met the commanders of the United States and the Iraqi officials on visit to Baghdad.
Iraq is submerged in political crisis over the anti-corruption reforms that is crippling the state institutions and menacing to slow down the campaign against IS-militants.
In Iraq, the increase advances the authorized troop level to 4,087. Pentagon would also provide over $415 million to Kurdish peshmerga military units.
Some of the U.S. troops that already in Iraq would be shifted to establish logistics for the Iraqi forces as they progress towards Mosul, said Ash Carter
Most of new U.S. advisers will be the Army Special Forces, as are the about a 100 advisers now in Iraq. The rest of troops include the support crew for Apaches along with the security forces to protect advisers.
US will also organize an additional long-range rocket artillery division, supporting the Iraqi ground forces in battle, said Carter.
The officials didn’t rule out probability that the lasting success might want further U.S. commitments.
“If it does not take us all the way, we will come back & have another discussion & ask for more if we need to,” said McFarland.