Tuesday, July 22, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

U.S. forces move into Iraq with security mission

By
From page A2 | June 17, 2014 |

By Julie Pace and Lara Jakes
WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 300 armed American forces are being positioned in and around Iraq to help secure U.S. assets as President Barack Obama nears a decision on an array of options for combating fast-moving Islamic insurgents, including airstrikes or a contingent of special forces.

The U.S. and Iran also held an initial discussion on how the longtime foes might cooperate to ease the threat from the al-Qaida-linked militants that have swept through Iraq. Still, the White House ruled out the possibility that Washington and Tehran might coordinate military operations in Iraq.

Obama met with his national security team Monday evening to discuss options for stopping the militants known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Officials said the president has made no final decisions on how aggressively the U.S. might get involved in Iraq, though the White House continued to emphasize that any military engagement remained contingent on the government in Baghdad making political reforms.

Still, there were unmistakable signs of Americans returning to a country from which the U.S. military fully withdrew more than two years ago. Obama notified Congress that up to 275 troops would be sent to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the American Embassy in Baghdad. The soldiers — 170 of which have already arrived in Iraq — were armed for combat, though Obama has insisted he does not intend for U.S. forces to be engaged in direct fighting.

“We are hard-wired into their system,” the fledgling democracy that America helped institute, said Ryan Crocker, a former U.S. ambassador to Baghdad. “We can’t walk away from it.”

About 100 additional forces are being put on standby, most likely in Kuwait, and could be used for airfield management, security and logistics support, officials said.

Separately, three U.S. officials said the White House was considering sending a contingent of special forces soldiers to Iraq. Their limited mission — which has not yet been approved — would focus on training and advising beleaguered Iraqi troops, many of whom have fled their posts across the nation’s north and west as the al-Qaida-inspired insurgency has advanced in the worst threat to the country since American troops left in 2011.

Taken together, the developments suggest a willingness by Obama to send Americans into a collapsing security situation in order to quell the brutal fighting in Iraq before it morphs into outright war.

If the U.S. were to deploy an additional team of special forces, the mission almost certainly would be small. One U.S. official said it could be up to 100 special forces soldiers. It also could be authorized only as an advising and training mission — meaning the soldiers would work closely with Iraqi forces that are fighting the insurgency but would not officially be considered combat troops.

The White House would not confirm that special operations forces were under consideration. But spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said that while Obama would not send troops back into combat, “He has asked his national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces.”

It’s not clear how quickly the special forces could arrive in Iraq. It’s also unknown whether they would remain in Baghdad or be sent to the nation’s north, where the Sunni Muslim insurgency has captured large swaths of territory ringing Baghdad, the capital of the Shiite-led government.

The troops would fall under the authority of the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad and would not be authorized to engage in combat, another U.S. official said. Their mission would be “non-operational training” of both regular and counterterrorism units, which the military has in the past interpreted to mean training on military bases, the official said.

However, all U.S. troops are allowed to defend themselves in Iraq if they are under attack.

The three U.S. officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the plans by name.

Obama made the end of the war in Iraq one of his signature campaign issues, and has touted the U.S. military withdrawal in December 2011 as one of his top foreign policy successes. But he has been caught over the past week between Iraqi officials pleading for help — as well as Republicans blaming him for the loss of a decade’s worth of gains in Iraq — and his anti-war Democratic political base, which is demanding that the U.S. stay out of the fight.

The crisis has sparked a rare alignment of interests between the U.S. and Iran, which wants to preserve Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government. The U.S. and Iran are engaged in sensitive nuclear negotiations and used a round of talks Monday in Vienna, Austria, to hold a separate bilateral discussion on Iraq.

While the U.S. and Iran have similar short-term goals in Iraq, they have different long-term aims. The United States would like to see an inclusive, representative democracy take hold in Iraq, while predominantly Shiite Iran is more focused on protecting Iraq’s Shiite population and bolstering its own position as a regional power against powerful Sunni Arab states in the Gulf.

Crocker said that Iran should “use all the influence” possible to keep the al-Qaida-style Islamic group from exacerbating the sectarian strife in Iraq.

Appearing Tuesday on “CBS This Morning,” Crocker said if he’d have Secretary of State John Kerry “on a plane right now for Baghdad.”

“I would have liked to have seen more sustained, high-level diplomatic engagement with the Iraqis,” Crocker said. He said that for the country to have any change at survival there must quickly be a show of “Kurdish, Shia and Sunni” solidarity.

Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Washington must move immediately “to disrupt their ability to continue their operations.” He said the insurgents are holding sway currently and that “all the ingredients are going into the stew. We see it happening on our watch.”

Appearing on CNN, Rogers said he believes there still is time for the United States to make a difference, but that Washington must move now.

While the White House continues to review its options, Iran’s military leaders are starting to step into the breach.

The commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Gen. Ghasem Soleimani, was in Iraq on Monday and consulting with the government there on how to stave off insurgents’ gains. Iraqi security officials said the U.S. government was notified in advance of the visit by Soleimani, whose forces are a secretive branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard that in the past has organized Shiite militias to target U.S. troops in Iraq and, more recently, was involved in helping Syria’s President Bashar Assad in his fight against Sunni rebels.

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Davis teen succumbs to head injuries

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

 
Somewhere, over the rainbow

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1

More homes for sale in Davis, at higher prices

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
Girls sleep safely at Myanmar school, thanks to generous Davisites

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Federal appeals court deals blow to health law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Driver dies in rural crash

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Police seek suspect in Woodland robbery spree

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Poppenga files to run for Davis school board

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A2

 
Pets of the week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Parents’ Night Out planned Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Saylor welcomes visitors at ‘office hours’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Summer produce, yummy treats featured at Sutter market

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
STEAC needs donations of personal care items

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

Drop off school supplies at Edward Jones offices

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Explore the night sky at Tuleyome Astronomy Night

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Appeals panel upholds race in admissions for UT Austin

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A3

 
Tickets on sale now for DHS Hall of Fame dinner

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A5

Yolo County CASA seeks volunteer child advocates

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
.

Forum

John Cole cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A4

 
Korean teenagers welcome us with open arms

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Time to support people with disabilities

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Shame on the Palestinians

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4, 11 Comments

Kimble left a swimming legacy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Any treasures at The Cannery?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

Questions about city revenue

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Not up for full-time caregiving

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

Son-in-law has them worried

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
.

Sports

River Cats overpower Chihuahuas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Tour leader Nibali: A ‘flag-bearer’ against doping

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Yolo Post 77 looks to avenge last year’s outcome

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Thompson shines as Republic falls

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Area sports briefs: Heintz returns to UCD

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

MLB roundup: Duvall, Kontos help Giants beat Phillies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

Lincoln Highway rolls into Central Park

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Rock Band campers perform at E Street Plaza

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Acme Theatre to present ‘The Rememberer’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Video highlights walking The Camino

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

‘Grease’ is the show at WOH

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Winters Fourth Friday Feast celebrates cycling

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7