Thousands of US forces may still be needed for post-ISIS Iraq

 

President Donald Trump greets Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi upon his arrival to the White House in Washington, Monday, March 20, 2017. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)
– THE WASHINGTON TIMES – THURSDAY, MAY 18, 2017

The US may need to keep as many 20,000 troops and other military personnel in Iraq , even after the Islamic State is driven out, to stabilize the country, the former head of the Pentagon ‘s policy shop said Thursday.

A postwar force of between 4,000 to 8,000 American troops “is probably sufficient” to help local security forces ensure security in Iraq as ISIS faces defeat in its final stronghold in Mosul, Eric Edelman, the Pentagon ‘s top policy official during the George W. Bush administration, said in an interview.

The US forces would likely be deployed as advisers, not combat troops, to support Iraq’s police and military forces, he said.

“We are dealing with an ISIS that is severely, severely weakened” after nearly two years of constant war against US-backed Iraqi and Kurdish forces, said Mr. Bush. Edelman, who is now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), a Washington-based defense think tank.

The 5,000 to 20,000 troops called for in the report would provide sufficient military support for Iraqi forces to hold their own on the conventional battlefield and battle ISIS remnants with a classic counterinsurgency strategy.

The 5,000-man footprint tracks closely the troop levels authorized by President Obama when US operations against ISIS in Iraq began in 2014. The high-end estimate would match the US invasion force sent into Afghanistan in 2001.

US and Iraqi officials say ISIS has lost almost all its territory in the country and is poised to lose its Iraqi capital of Mosul. As battlefield and territorial losses mount, the group may be returning to its insurgent roots.

“There is an imperative for some kind of residual US military presence in Iraq ,” to ensure an ISIS-led insurgency that does not drive the country back into the blotshed and violence that engulfed the country during the darkest days of the American war, the report’s Author and CSBA Senior Fellow Hal Brands said.

Negotiations have begun between Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and US officials in Baghdad on a new status of forces agreement, or SOFA, which will outline the legal and diplomatic parameters underpinning a long-term US military presence in the country.

Mr. Edelman and Mr. Brands said the remaining US forces will provide Mr. Abadi political cover against opponents of a long-term military mission in Iraq . Influential Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr vehemently opposes any American deployments into postwar Iraq . Other Iranian-backed Shi’ite groups are also lining up against an extended US mission in the country.

Mr. Abadi will likely forgo a parliamentary vote on any SOFA deal and issue an agreement via executive action, Mr.Edelman said. The inability by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to push a SOFA deal through parliament ruled in the full withdrawal of US forces from the country in 2011.

“My hope is the experience of 2014 may prove that … it may be worth paying a political price for keeping US forces in the country,” Mr. Brands added, regarding acceptance of a prolonged American presence by Iraqis.

Iraqi Shia will likely remain split over support for the US postwar mission, while Iraqi Sunnis and Kurds will embrace the deal, since they see American forces as a necessary “balance against Iranian influence,” Mr. Edelman added.

Tehran’s growing influence in the country, most notably through the network of major Iranian-backed Shia militias known as Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, could weigh heavily on any decision by the Pentagon to put more boots on the ground in Iraq .

“One of the problems in the [coalition] campaign is that the partner [forces] hate each other more than they hate ISIS,” Mr. Brands said. “As ISIS gets closer to defeat, those under conflicting … are coming to the surface in a major way.”

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Doubts about the ability of Iraqi forces to resolve the battle of Mosul before Ramadan

May 19, 2017


MOSUL – Anatolia: «approached the hour of decision» in Mosul, a consensus met by Iraqi officials and «International Alliance» and Muadhm before Ramadan, but military analysts expect a relatively long battle, because of two major challenges relating to civilians and the nature of the battlefield. On the fifteenth of this month, he announced a spokesman for the Joint Operations Command (follow the Iraqi army) Brigadier – General Yahya Messenger, the liberation of the Iraqi forces more than 90 percent of the western side of the city. 

After the day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al – Abadi came at a news conference in Baghdad to announce that « the editing process (Mosul) will be resolved in the next few days (without details)», which was considered a confirmation of the words of Chief of Staff of the Iraqi army team ‘s first corner Othman Ghanimi, the beginning of the month current that Iraqi forces will regain the western side in full before the holy month of Ramadan. 

Although government forces managed to reduce the area controlled by the organization «state» west of Mosul , to 12 square kilometers, but specialists in the Iraqi military affairs, say the remaining neighborhoods battles to resolve the west side need some time, and it is unlikely to control it before Ramadan . 

And surrounded the old city of Iraqi forces (neighborhood), and the neighborhoods of healing, Zndjeli, and carpenter, another area where the militants exist «Daesh» located on the bank of the Tigris River , west of Mosul. 

Yesterday I, Colonel John Durian , a coalition spokesman said at a press conference in Baghdad , said the organization «completely boxed in the city and its resources are being destroyed», adding that « the enemy on the verge of total defeat». 

Iskandar and berries, a member of the Security and Defense Committee in the Iraqi parliament ruled implicitly complete liberation before the end of this month (marks of Ramadan), without tipping a new date, but he made a number of field data that hinder the progress of the Iraqi forces and exert control over the entire city. 

He said that «heavy weapons and missile bombardments and artillery strikes and the entire Air Force parked not currently used in the old city of Mosul because of the presence of civilians.» 

He added that «state elements hiding inside the houses and pointing their guns towards the security forces locked in the streets of war inside the old city , which forbids military vehicles with its narrow streets of the freedom of movement». 

He pointed out that « the liberation of the remaining Mosul depends on intelligence information obtained by the security forces of civilians on the whereabouts of militants of the organization and his plans». 

Since more than one month federal police forces engaged in (internal tracking Iraqi) fierce battles in the old city crowded houses and alleys , which makes it more complicated battlefields. 

He predicted an expert in military affairs Khalil al – Naimi that «barricaded Mshlo (state) in the remainder of their west side neighborhoods and do not give up despite the killing of many of the group ‘s leaders.» 

Naimi said a retired colonel of the Iraqi army , said that « the organization has a lot of potential and capabilities in the western side of the connector, but its elements will continue to fight for not having another way, there are no ways of supplies to facilitate their transition to another place, so the only solution for them is to continue fighting». 

He pointed out that « the Emancipation Proclamation western side before Ramadan ( the end of this month) is unlikely because thousands of civilians are still within the four neighborhoods, and ( the state) uses them as human shields to prevent the progress of the Iraqi forces, so it will not be freed an easy process and needs to be a cautious Intense”. 

Lieutenant – General Abdul – Ghani al – Asadi commander of the anti – terrorist forces , the expectations of (elite forces in the Iraqi army) did not stray too far from official statements that do not provide details about isnaads Trgihatha the end of the battle before the end of May / May , which coincides with Ramadan solutions. 

He said «According to the resolution of the battle ground data will be a few days, but remains the basic problem is to maintain the safety of civilians from friendly fire.» 

He stressed that « the state currently maintained by less than 10 percent of the west side and will continue his abdication from the remaining districts, under irregular battles carried out by anti – terrorism forces , given the absence of fixed positions to the concentration of terrorists». 

He revealed the Iraqi military commander for the organization to change the strategy of fighting as «fighting now in the remaining neighborhoods of Mosul territorially, ie , without coordinating the living elements with some of them due to the loss of command and control». 

A few days ago dropped leaflets on Iraqi planes Mosul says the civilians that the battle is nearing completion. 

And demanded the publications that began with the words «I approached yard decisive» to stop the use of any vehicle immediately to avoid considered a mistake of targeting Iraqi forces suicide attacks with car and motorcycle bombs. 

He wrote in a publication, «Our Air Force and Army Aviation will beat any wheel moving in the sub – main roads (in the four districts)».

http://www.alquds.co.uk/?p=721177

Secretary of State Tillerson Travel to Riyadh, Jerusalem, Rome, and Brussels

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Press Statement

Heather Nauert 

Department Spokesperson

Washington, DC

May 17, 2017

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will accompany President Donald J. Trump on travel to Riyadh, Jerusalem, Rome, and Brussels.
Follow Secretary Tillerson’s travel via @StateDept on Twitter and visit the State Department’s Flickr account for the latest trip photos. Stay connected at https://blogs.state.gov/engage and keep track of all of the Secretary’s travels at https://www.state.gov/secretary/2017travel/index.htm.

Haidar al-Abadi calls on Bashar al-Assad to cooperate to fight “da’ash” on the border

 

Thursday, May 18

Al-Arab Al-Youm - Haider al-Abadi calls on Bashar al-Assad to cooperate to fight "da'ash" on the border

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi
Baghdad-Najla al-Tai

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday received an oral message from Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi , in which he pointed to the importance of continuing cooperation in combating the organization “Daash” on the common border between the two countries. He stressed in his letter the importance of continuing to strengthen cooperation between Syria and Iraq Their war against extremist Takfiri organizations, especially with regard to coordinating efforts in the fight against the extremist “Daqash” organization, on the common border between the two countries.

For his part, Assad said during his meeting with Fayyad that “any achievement achieved by the Syrian and Iraqi armies in combating extremism is an important step on the road to restoring security and stability to the two countries. The enemy is joint and the battle is against the plans aimed at weakening and dividing the countries of the region through the tools of extremist organizations.”

The meeting discussed the practical and field steps for military coordination between the two armies on the two sides of the border in the light of the victories achieved by the Iraqi army in Mosul, and discussed the prospects for close direct cooperation between the Syrian and Iraqi armies in the fight against extremism jointly between the two countries.

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Jordan ‘s King meets with Iraqi President

 

Thursday, May 18,
A
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Amman, May 18 ( QNA ) – Jordanian monarch King Abdullah II on Monday met Iraqi President Fuad Masum, who is currently visiting Amman.
During the meeting, they discussed relations between the two countries, in addition to the latest developments on the Iraqi arena and a number of regional issues of common concern.
During the meeting, King Abdullah stressed that Jordan and Iraq stand in the same trench against the threat of terrorism. He stressed that Jordan’s interests in Iraq are in its unity, stability and prosperity, in order to support its Arab nation and constitute a cornerstone for security and stability in the region.
In turn, the Iraqi president reviewed what has been achieved on the ground to confront the elements of the organization calling for the liberation of the areas he controlled, stressing that all the spectrums of the Iraqi people working together to win on terrorism.
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