In light of current delays, Iraq plans to proceed against a rapidly growing rebellious force without U.S. military aid. The Iraqis have begun to rely on other governments such as Russia, Syria and Iran to help them against a growing insurgent movement because, according to Baghdad’s top envoy, they are not able to wait any longer for military aid from the United States. These types of alliances can be dangerous because they question the Obama administration’s impact overseas and increase risks for America as a few of its main opponents think about joining forces.
Iraq’s Ambassador, Lukman Faily, stopped himself before describing lasting military relations with any other nations that are planning to offer help as Iraq tries to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). However, Faily did mention that Baghdad would favor work with the U.S.
Ambassador Faily also said that U.S. military aid delays have forced Iraq to look for help elsewhere. He also asked that the U.S. began launching targeted airstrikes against the insurgency. As of now, the Obama Administration has not implemented airstrikes in Iraq, but has not completely ruled them out either. Faily mentioned that any further delay only works in favor for the terrorists.
Regardless of a constitutional deadline to announce a new leader of the parliament, Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers left the very first session of the recently seated legislature, crushing hopes for the fast formation of a new government that might have the potential to hold the country together during a time of militant chaos. ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on Muslims from around the world to join the fight and offer their assistance in building an Islamic state in land that the extremists control in Syria and Iraq.
Meanwhile, the United Nations recently announced that over 2,400 were killed during June in Iraq, making it the deadliest month that has occurred in the country in years. The Obama administration is hesitant to send a lot of military aid to Iraq in fear of pulling the U.S. into another years-long war in the middle east. President Obama ruled out sending combat troops into Iraq again after withdrawing them in 2011. However, he did send more soldiers to Baghdad this week to help support the U.S. embassy. Currently, there are around 750 U.S. troops in Iraq, half of which are encouraging Iraqi counterterror forces to fight ISIL.
During the height the of eight-year war, over 160,000 U.S. troops fought in Iraq. Since then, more than $10 billion in military equipment has been sold to Baghdad. Recently, Washington offered Baghdad security forces support with its intelligence and surveillance operations.
Although Iraq is currently in a desperate state, the plans to proceed with offers of availability from other countries and without U.S. military aid could be a decision made too quickly. An additional 300 U.S. troops are making their way into Iraq this week and are equipped with an unspecified amount of attack helicopters in addition to unarmed surveillance drones.
Iraq has been asking for additional support from Washington for more than a year now and Ambassador Faily said that as the battle with ISIL worsens, Baghdad leaders are forced to take whatever aid is on hand. He mentioned that the decision has been primarily based on need, rather than desire.
Although there are plans to send F-16s this fall, U.S. fighter jets have currently been delayed. Because of the desperate situation in the middle east, Iraq plans to use any current available aid and proceed without additional U.S. military aid.
By Laura Simmons
U.S. Department of Defense