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Search Tags: ISIL
Australian police shot and killed a man after he stabbed two counterterrorism officers today.
The U.S. has promised to stand by Iraq as its new leaders appealed for help in facing the deadly insurgency from ISIL. Secretary of State John Kerry made the pledges during a daylong visit to Baghdad, just as President Barack Obama prepared to outline his strategy for defeating the Islamic State militant group.
The Pentagon may need to ask Congress for more money if the Obama administration steps up attacks against ISIL. DoD has not yet stated publicly how much it has spent so far in the fight against ISIL. The U.S. operation in Iraq so far has included relief drops of 636 bundles of food, water and medical supplies, at least 100 air strikes and about 60 reconnaissance aircraft missions a day.
"The immediacy is in the number of Europeans and other nationalities who have come to the region to be a part of that ideology," said Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey. He made the comments while discussing the strength of ISIL in Syria and Iraq. The immediate problem for the U.S. he says is that some of those foreign fighters which came from the U.S. may have already gone home.
The US has been pounding ISIL in Iraq with 500 lb. bombs and drone strikes. "What I expect ISIL to do is look for other things to do, to pick up and move elsewhere," says Lt. Gen. William Mayville, the director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. However, he told reporters at the Pentagon that ISIL is still a problem. "I in no way want to suggest that we have effectively contained or are somehow breaking the momentum of ISIL," said Mayville.
Navy jets have been dropping 500 lb. bombs in Iraq on ISIL positions in northern Iraq. The 500 lb. bomb is one of the smallest and one of the most common air-dropped weapons in the world. Although the nominal weight is 500 lbs., its actual weight varies considerably depending on its configuration, from 510 lbs. to 570 lbs. It comes with a streamlined steel casing containing 192 lbs. of Tritonal high explosive. The bombs being used in Iraq are laser-guided for precision.
U.S. strikes in Iraq could lead to retaliation from the Islamic State. Their primary weapon could be the Mosul dam, which sits on the Tigris River and is about 30 miles northwest of the city of Mosul. It provides electricity to Mosul and controls the water supply for a large amount of territory. A 2007 report by the U.S. government, which was involved with the construction, is warning that if it should fail, a 65-foot wave of water would be unleashed across large areas of northern Iraq.
Fighters from the Islamic State seized control of Iraq's biggest dam, an oilfield and three more towns over the weekend. This puts a major terror tool under their control. Water is essential for life and it being withheld could be used against the residents of the towns that were captured. On the other hand, worse control of the damn could be used to unleash flooding.
President Obama spoke recently with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia to convey his best wishes as Ramadan begins. The two leaders discussed the current situation in Iraq, and the threat that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) poses to the stability of Iraq and to the entire region. They reaffirmed the need for Iraq's leaders to move expeditiously to form a new government capable of uniting all of Iraq's diverse communities. The President thanked the King for Saudi Arabia's pledge of $500 million to help alleviate the suffering of all Iraqis who have been displaced by the violence. The two leaders agreed to continue to consult closely on regional developments.
Ninety of the 300 U.S. military advisers and special operations forces going to Iraq are in Baghdad. The Pentagon says they will begin to do three things: assess the strength of Iraqi forces, gauge the skill of The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and determine if it's viable to send more US advisory teams to Iraq.