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Search Tags: Iraq
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.
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.
Of the 300 troops authorized by President Barack Obama, 180 have arrived in Baghdad. Half are advisors and the remaining 90 are setting up an operations and intelligence analysis unit. The Pentagon confirms that Predator drones, armed with Hellfire missiles, are now also being used over the capitol for force protection.
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.
The Pentagon says Iraq has agreed to grant legal protection for the U.S. military advisors headed there to assess the state of Iraq's military and the threat from ISIL. That means they will be granted immunity from prosecution for any crimes they commit or legal trouble they might find themselves in during their deployment. Now that the agreement has been made, the first advisory teams will be established.
Maybe the United States was never really finished in Iraq. Regardless, events of the past two weeks have returned that nation to a front and center position for Congress and the administration. Paul Bremer was U.S. Presidential envoy to Iraq in 2003 and 2004. A career diplomat, he was thrust into the spotlight as temporary head of the Iraqi government after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Most of the questions this week have been about military options now that the government is under threat. Bremer joined Tom Temin and Emily Kopp on the Federal Drive to discuss how this situation affects the State Department both here and in Baghdad.