The deployment of up to 450 more American troops to Iraq to train and assist the Iraqi forces battling the Islamic State was approved by President Obama this week. These additional troops will bring American troop levels in Iraq up to 3,550.
According to a New York Times article discussing the decision to send up to 450 additional troops to Irag, the additional American troops will arrive as early as this summer and the troops will set up the training center primarily to advise and assist Iraqi security forces and to engage and reach out to Sunni tribes in Anbar in order to help train Sunni fighters.
"These new advisers will work to build capacity of Iraqi forces, including local tribal fighters, to improve their ability to plan, lead and conduct operations against ISIL in eastern Anbar under the command of the prime minister,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said in a statement, referring to the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS and ISIL. “This train, advise and assist mission builds on lessons learned during the past several months and is just one aspect of our commitment to support the Iraqi Security Forces.”
The White House was also clear that sending these additional troops and the decision to speed up the delivery of weapons and equipment to Iraqi forces was in no way altering the original mission of the United States in aiding Iraq fight against ISIS.
“This decision does not represent a change in mission, but rather adds another location for D.O.D. to conduct similar activities in more areas in Iraq,” the Department of Defense said in a statement. “This effort is in keeping with our overarching strategy to work with partners on the ground to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL.”
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