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 »
An estimated $15.6 billion, "according to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report."
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) “is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and … the Justice Department” for potentially improper contributions to his 2013 campaign, including while he was a Clinton Global Initiative board member. ... Among the McAuliffe donations that drew the interest of the investigators was $120,000 from” former Chinese legislator Wang Wenliang. “U.S. election law prohibits foreign nationals from donating to … elections. … But Wang holds U.S. permanent resident status.”
"Donald Trump is reviving some of the ugliest political chapters of the 1990s with escalating personal attacks on Bill Clinton's character, part of a concerted effort to smother Hillary Clinton 's campaign message with the weight of decades of controversy. Trump's latest shot came Monday when he released an incendiary Instagram video that includes the voices of two women who accused the former president of sexual assault, underscoring the presumptive Republican nominee's willingness to go far beyond political norms in his critique of his likely Democratic rival. ...In one recent interview, Trump said another topic of potential concern is the suicide of former White House aide Vincent Foster, which remains the focus of intense and far-fetched conspiracy theories on the Internet."
"The head of security for the Transportation Security Administration, Kelly Hoggan, has been removed from his position after a hearing about the agency's management, the House Oversight Committee says." Deputy assistant administrator Darby LaJoye will take over for Hoggan on a temporary basis.
"Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has appointed a veteran legal insider with strong personal ties to the Obama administration to serve as his special adviser focused exclusively on fixing the Washington region’s troubled Metro system. Kathryn Thomson, who was expected to leave her job as the Department of Transportation’s top lawyer, instead will stay on as Foxx’s special adviser on Metro oversight." She'll start this week.