While initial U.S. assessments suggest that Iraq’s security forces are able to defend Baghdad, what about taking back parts of the country that have been lost to insurgents?
Well, the Pentagon believes Iraq will likely need some help with that.
“I think that’s a really broad, campaign-quality question. Probably not by themselves,” said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when asked about the ability of Iraqi security forces to retake territory captured by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
The United States has roughly 650 troops in Iraq. It has also sent planes and ships into the region since the crisis began. ISIS, for its part, declared its territory in Iraq and Syria to be an Islamic state, but Dempsey said he believes their forces are currently stretched thin as they try to maintain their gains.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday during the joint briefing that U.S. troops currently in Iraqaren’t involved in combat missions — and won’t be involved in combat missions. But Dempsey seemed to leave the door open, saying that “we may get to that point” when U.S. troops have direct military involvement in Iraq.
“That is one option, but one I personally don’t think [is what] the situation demands,” he added, stressing that the current U.S. strategy isn’t the same as in 2003 and 2006 — when the U.S. invaded Iraq and in the lead-up to the surge of U.S. troops, respectively.
In the meantime, the United States is still trying to get a full picture of what is going on in Iraq. Imagine trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube without being able to see all of the sides.
Leading that effort is the Pentagon, which has six assessment teams in Iraq. It also has two joint operations centers there — one in Baghdad and a second in Erbil, a large city in northern Iraq.
And although the Pentagon’s top duo are getting early assessments, Hagel said, we “won’t have the full complement of all those assessments for a while.
What We're Following See More »
After spending a few minutes re-litigating the Democratic primary, Donald Trump turned his focus to Obamacare. “I inherited a mess, believe me. We also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe” he said. “I’ve been watching and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work.” He finished, "so we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare."
Donald Trump lobbed his first attack at the “dishonest media” about a minute into his speech, saying that the media would not appropriately cover the standing ovation that he received. “We are fighting the fake news,” he said, before doubling down on his previous claim that the press is “the enemy of the people." However, he made a distinction, saying that he doesn't think all media is the enemy, just the "fake news."
"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."