In addition to earlier troop deployments, the Pentagon on Monday confirmed that President Obama has ordered additional U.S. soldiers to Iraq as well as more helicopters and armed Predator drones.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said approximately 300 new troops had arrived in Baghdad over the course of Sunday and Monday, adding to the growing U.S. military footprint ordered by Obama since fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) took large swaths of territory in the country during the month of June.
“At the direction of the president,” said Kirby in a statement, “the U.S. military augmented its security assistance by up to approximately 200 personnel to reinforce security at the U.S. embassy, its support facilities, and Baghdad International Airport.”
“In addition,” Kirby added, “the approximately 100 personnel already prepositioned in the Central Command region—previously announced by the Defense Department in mid-June— will also move forward to Baghdad to provide security and logistics support.”
The new U.S. troops in the area will add to an earlier set of troop reinforcements sent to bolster defense of the U.S. embassy and deployed as trainers and advisors to the Iraqi Army forces.
Despite repeated warnings that there is no military solution to the crisis in Iraq and anti-war voices cautioning the current administration not to repeat the mistakes of the Bush administration by inflaming the crisis with a larger U.S. military presence, Obama continues to expand the footprint as the war inside Iraq escalates.
According to Al-Jazeera:
The announcement will bring to nearly 800 the total number of US forces in and around Iraq to train local forces, secure the embassy and protect Washington’s interests.
President Obama has ruled out sending combat troops back into Iraq. But he says the additional troops will be equipped for combat.
Obama says the troops will stay in Iraq until security improves so that the reinforcements are no longer needed.