Iraq’s Probably Going to Need Help Taking Back Its Country

But Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said no U.S. troops will perform combat missions.

Members of the Al-Abbas brigades, who volunteered to protect the Shiite Muslim holy sites in Karbala against Sunni militants fighting the Baghdad government, parade in the streets of the Shrine city on June 26, 2014. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki conceded that political measures are needed alongside military action to repel a Sunni insurgent offensive that is threatening to tear Iraq apart.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
July 3, 2014, 9:55 a.m.

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 »
THE QUESTION
How Many People Protested in Philly Yesterday?
1 hours ago
THE ANSWER

About 5,500, according to official estimates. "The Monday figures marked a large increase from the protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where even the largest protests only drew a couple of hundred demonstrators. But it’s a far cry from the 35,000 to 50,000 that Philadelphia city officials initially expected."

Source:
NO BATTLEGROUND STATES LEAN TRUMP
NY Times’ Upshot Gives Clinton 68% Chance to Win
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

Only a day after FiveThirtyEight's Now Cast gave Donald Trump a 57% chance of winning, the New York Times' Upshot fires back with its own analysis that shows Hillary Clinton with a 68% chance to be the next president. Its model "calculates win probabilities for each state," which incorporate recent polls plus "a state's past election results and national polling." Notably, all of the battleground states that "vote like the country as a whole" either lean toward Clinton or are toss-ups. None lean toward Trump.

Source:
HOLCOMB IS A FORMER TOP AIDE
Indiana Lt. Gov. Tapped to Run for Pence’s Seat
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

On the second ballot, the Indiana Republican Party's Central Committee tapped Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb as their nominee to succeed Gov. Mike Pence this fall. "Holcomb was a top aide to former Gov. Mitch Daniels and Sen. Dan Coats and a former chairman of the state Republican Party."

Source:
AFTER ROLL CALL VOTE
Sanders May Officially Nominate Clinton
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Negotiations are underway to have Bernie Sanders officially nominate Hillary Clinton for president at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night, a move that would further signal party unity. According to a source familiar with the talks, the Vermont senator would nominate the presumptive Democratic nominee after the roll call vote."

Source:
THE REVOLUTION CONTINUES
Sanders to Channel His Movement into Local Races
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Bernie Sanders said he'll begin pivoting his campaign to an organization designed to help candidates at the local level around the country. At a breakfast for the Wisconsin delegation to the DNC this morning, he said the new group will "bring people into the political process around a progressive agenda," as it supports candidates "running for school board, for city council, for state legislature."

Source:
×