Switching Gears? US Sending More Troops to Iraq
President Barack Obama will send up to 450 more troops to Iraq and has ordered the Pentagon to expand training sites in the country to help counter advances made by the Islamic State.
Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey said the move doesn't change the president's strategy for Iraq. Three thousand U.S. trainers and advisers are in Iraq at this time working with the Iraqi military against ISIS.
The planned expansion of the U.S. mission in Iraq may be in response to growing criticism in Washington and elsewhere that the president's strategy in Iraq isn't working. Even the president admits he doesn't have a forward-thinking plan.
"We don't yet have a complete strategy because it requires commitments on the part of the Iraqis as well," Obama said.
But the Iraqis appeared more committed this week as their military, along with Shiite militias who re-took the northern oil rich city of Baiji. ISIS still controls Ramadi, the capital city of Anbar province.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi government is demanding the United States send more equipment to them. Large amounts of military hardware tanks, Humvees, and heavy artillery have ended up in the hands of ISIS.
Also, still begging for weapons are the Peshmerga, the Iraqi Kurds fighting ISIS in the Ninevah Plains.
They too want tanks, Humvees, and heavy artillery, but the Obama administration is reluctant to send those weapons directly to Kurdistan. The Kurds say the Iraqi government is keeping all the weapons sent for themselves.
The Kurdistan government also says it is still having trouble paying its Peshmerga soldiers and government workers. The Iraqi government is several months behind in sending them promised revenues from Kurdish oil.