Could U.S. Forces Have Prevented the Violence in Iraq?

Probably not, a Defense Department official says.

WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 01: House Armed Services Committee ranking member Rep. Howard P. Buck McKeon (R-CA) (C) welcomes Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly (R) before a hearing of the committee about missile defense October 1, 2009 in Washington, DC. The officials from the State and Defense departments defended the Obama Administration's decision to restructure the United States' missile defense systems in eastern Europe, particularly in Poland and the Czech Republic. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
National Journal
Jordain Carney
Add to Briefcase
Jordain Carney
Feb. 11, 2014, 2:28 p.m.

Sign­ing a se­cur­ity agree­ment with Ir­aq likely wouldn’t have pre­ven­ted the re­sur­gence of al-Qaida and the on­go­ing vi­ol­ence in the coun­try, a De­fense of­fi­cial said Tues­day.

“I do think that the idea that if we had ne­go­ti­ated a fol­low-on set­tle­ment with the Ir­aqis, and had a SOFA [status of forces agree­ment] and a re­main­ing force, the idea that that force would be able to pre­vent what’s go­ing on is — I’m not sure that that would be pos­sible,” said Elissa Slotkin, the prin­cip­al deputy as­sist­ant sec­ret­ary of De­fense for in­ter­na­tion­al se­cur­ity af­fairs, adding that at the height of the U.S. troop surge there were sim­il­ar levels of vi­ol­ence in the An­bar Province in west­ern Ir­aq.

Slotkin test­i­fied as part of a House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee hear­ing on the U.S. mil­it­ary po­s­i­tion in the Middle East. Re­pub­lic­ans have cri­ti­cized Pres­id­ent Obama for shift­ing what they view as needed at­ten­tion away from the re­gion. The ad­min­is­tra­tion re­cently de­ployed De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel and Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry to push back against the be­lief that the United States is step­ping away from its Middle East com­mit­ments.

Com­mit­tee Chair­man Buck McK­eon asked what les­sons could be trans­ferred from the on­go­ing vi­ol­ence in Ir­aq and the lack of a se­cur­ity agree­ment to the draw­down in Afgh­anistan, where Pres­id­ent Ham­id Kar­zai is re­fus­ing to let a bi­lat­er­al se­cur­ity agree­ment be signed un­til after the elec­tion.

But the De­fense of­fi­cial said she wasn’t sure “a re­main­ing force of 10,000 would have been able to pre­vent” the vi­ol­ence or that the situ­ations are “ana­log­ous.” The De­fense De­part­ment is re­com­mend­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion keep 10,000 troops in Afgh­anistan after this year. It’s sim­il­ar to the num­ber of troops the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion offered to leave in Ir­aq.

But of­fi­cials stressed that the ad­min­is­tra­tion is fo­cused on help­ing the Ir­aqis se­cure their coun­try, through provid­ing mil­it­ary equip­ment in­clud­ing the re­cent trans­fer of Hell­fire mis­siles and heli­copters.

“We have made an ex­traordin­ary ef­fort … to give them the weaponry, and frankly the in­tel­li­gence sup­port that they need to meet this … re­newed threat,” said Anne Pat­ter­son, as­sist­ant sec­ret­ary of State for Near East­ern af­fairs, adding that the U.S. will step up its train­ing with the Ir­aqis.

What We're Following See More »
$618 BILLION IN FUNDING
By a Big Margin, House Passes Defense Bill
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House this morning by a 375-34 vote. The bill, which heads to the Senate next week for final consideration, would fund the military to the tune of $618.7 billion, "about $3.2 billion more than the president requested for fiscal 2017. ... The White House has issued a veto threat on both the House and Senate-passed versions of the bill, but has not yet said if it will sign the compromise bill released by the conference committee this week."

Source:
SUCCEEDS UPTON
Walden to Chair Energy and Commerce Committee
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

"Republicans have elected Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) the next chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden defeated Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Joe Barton (R-TX), the former committee chairman, in the race for the gavel" to succeed Michgan's Fred Upton.

Source:
BIPARTISAN SUPPORT
Senators Looking to Limit Deportations Under Trump
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

"Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are working on legislation that would limit deportations" under President-elect Donald Trump. Leading the effort are Judiciary Committee members Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is also expected to sign on.

Source:
REQUIRES CHANGE IN LAW
Trump Taps Mattis for Defense Secretary
2 days ago
BREAKING

Donald Trump has selected retired Marine Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis as his secretary of defense, according to The Washington Post. Mattis retired from active duty just four years ago, so Congress will have "to pass new legislation to bypass a federal law that states secretaries of defense must not have been on active duty in the previous seven years." The official announcement is likely to come next week.

Source:
MEASURE HEADED TO OBAMA
Senate OKs 10-Year Extension of Iran Sanctions
2 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login