The Pentagon is considering sending U.S. troops back to Iraq or a neighboring country on a mission to train Iraqi troops after the recent fall of two major cities, Fallujah and Ramadi, earlier this month to al Qaeda linked militants. The Pentagon has previously opposed to such considerations, but reports that came out Friday suggest that U.S. officials are not opposed to the idea of sending troops back into the region.
The Army Times writes, “It is unclear whether troops would be sent directly into Iraq or possibly conduct training in a nearby country such as Jordan. “We are in continuing discussions about how we can improve the Iraqi military,” Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said Friday. The idea of sending U.S. military trainers back to Iraq for the first time since 2011 is one the Pentagon has emphatically rejected in recent years, but on Friday, Warren offered a carefully worded statement that did not rule out the possibility.”
But Sunday, the Army Times reported that Information Minister Mohammad Momani told the Associated Press, “that Jordan has received a U.S. request to host the training and that details are being discussed.”
“We look positively at the training because it is consistent with our foreign policy goal of fighting terrorism and because we have one of the best security and military training facilities in the region,” said Momani, who is also the government spokesman.”
Iraqi government officials are extremely concerned over the worsening crisis in Anbar province and are open to the idea of having U.S. troops on their soil to help contain the issue. The Pentagon and Iraq government may be working a significant arms deal in addition to troops on the ground.
The Army Times continues, “Another defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the Pentagon also may be considering a larger shipment of arms that would require notification of Congress. “We are processing a wide range of requests [from the Iraqis’] for continued support,” the defense official said.”
As the Iraq situation continues to worsen, it comes amid significant criticism of President Obama’s quick withdrawal from Iraq and his current handling of the war in Afghanistan. Many U.S. officials have expressed concerns over the rapid departure of U.S. troops from Afghanistan having a mirroring effect to what we are seeing in Iraq today.
“The U.S does not have a current Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq because the Iraqis in 2011 refused to provide legal immunity for U.S. troops to operate inside the country. Iraq’s failure to agree to legal immunity was a key factor in the decision to withdraw all American forces two years ago.”