July 11 2016
A U.S. soldier kicks a gate during a mission in Baquba, in Diyala province, around 40 miles northeast of Baghdad, 2008. | Photo: Reuters
This new deployment would bring the number of U.S. troops in Iraq to almost 5,000 soldiers.
The U.S. government announced Monday it was sending more than 500 troops to Iraq in a bid to support the Iraqi army in its upcoming operation to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group, a development that constitutes President Barack Obama’s latest move against his own repeated promises to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq.
“With these additional U.S. forces I’m describing today, we’ll bring unique capability to the campaign and provide critical support to the Iraqi forces at a key moment in the fight,” U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told a gathering of U.S. troops in Baghdad Monday.
This new deployment would bring the number of U.S. troops in Iraq to almost 5,000 soldiers and comes less than three months after Obama sent 200 soldiers to Iraq to “advise” Iraqi troops during operations against the extremist group.
The latest addition to U.S. troops in Iraq is contradictory to Obama’s promise just two years ago when he said his government’s efforts to help the Iraqi army retake territory from the Islamic State group would “not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.”
Obama’s promises in 2008 when he was running for the presidency
One of Obama’s main promises in 2008 when he was running for the presidency was that he would end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and completely withdraw forces from the two nations.
While he did manage to officially end the war in Iraq, Washington has in fact steadily increased the number of troops In Iraq since 2014. Also there are more than 5,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan who are carrying out active combat operations as part of the NATO force.
Obama also authorized late in 2015 the deployment of forces in Syria where at least 50 special forces are fighting against the Islamic State group.
It seems Obama will leave office with three wars in progress instead of ending two, Greg Jaffe argued in a column for the Washington Post last October.
OPINION: I Helped Create ISIS
One of the most devastating consequences of the U.S.’s unjust and illegal war in Iraq in 2003
“As he nears the end of his presidency, Obama faces the prospect that he will leave office with ground forces deployed to three combat zones,” Jaffe wrote and added that in Iraq and Syria, “the president has incrementally boosted the U.S. force, beginning an initial deployment of several hundred troops to Iraq in 2014.”
Mosul is the second-largest city in Iraq and the Islamic State group’s stronghold from which its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the so-called Islamic caliphate shortly after they took over the city in summer 2014.
While the extremist group would be dealt a major blow if the city is liberated by Iraqi forces, it is noteworthy that the very existence of the group is one of the most devastating consequences of the U.S.’s unjust and illegal war in Iraq in 2003.