News / Middle East

    US Military Advisers: Iraq Assessments to Take Weeks

    Members of the Iraqi security forces take their positions during an intensive security deployment west of Baghdad, Iraq, June 24, 2014.
    Members of the Iraqi security forces take their positions during an intensive security deployment west of Baghdad, Iraq, June 24, 2014.

    In the southern Iraqi city of Basra, hundreds of fresh recruits train, preparing to join the battle against Sunni militants who have been strengthening their grip on large swaths of the north and east.

    Meanwhile, in the capital city of Baghdad, officials marked the arrival of more U.S. military advisers.  

    “Their primary mission now is to assess the capabilities of the Iraqi army in and around Baghdad,” said Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

    The U.S. now has six teams – with a total of 90 commandos – in the capital, but they’ll need two or three weeks to complete assessments, Warren said.

    Another 90 U.S. military personnel have started running a Joint Operations Center in Baghdad.  Reconnaissance flights also continue around the clock, though, for now, no U.S. airstrikes have been ordered.

    As many as 300 U.S. military advisers ultimately may be sent to assist the Iraqi military’s fight against insurgents.  

    Reports of Syrian airstrikes this week inside Iraq are cause for concern.

    “The answer to Iraq’s problems right now is not military. It’s certainly not Syrian airstrikes in western Iraq.  The answer is a political solution,” Warren said.

    The Syrian strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, also drew criticism from U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.

    “Iraq’s security situation cannot and should not be resolved by the Assad regime, by airstrikes from the Assad regime, or by militias funded and supported by other countries in the region,” Harf said.

    Harf's mention of "other countries" was an apparent reference to Iran, a longtime supporter of Shi'ite militias in Iraq.

    Pentagon officials refuse to discuss reports that Iran is flying surveillance drones from an airfield in Baghdad. But they say the U.S. is continuing to provide Iraq with supplies and ammunition, including another 200 Hellfire missiles to be delivered over the coming weeks.


    Jeff Seldin

    Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

    You May Like

    Can EU Survive a Brexit?

    Across Europe politicians are asking if the British vote to leave the European Union will set in motion dynamics that will see other member states leave too

    Video Entrepreneurs at Global Summit Tackle Range of Challenges

    Innovators strive to halt sexual harassment in India, improve rural health in Myanmar, build businesses in Africa

    Key African Anti-Venom About to Permanently Run Out

    The tale of Fav-Afrique’s demise is a complicated one that reflects a deeper crisis brewing in global public health

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    June 27, 2014 1:31 AM
    How do you know Harf was not referring to UAE and Saudi Arabia's support of ISIS? What makes you think she was only referring to Iran?

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    June 26, 2014 11:22 PM
    So Col Warren says the problem isn't the Iraq military, that the answer is a political solution. That's what all battles need, a political solution.........oh........political solutions create the battles. Maybe Warren meant that the problem needs a religious solution......oh.......religion IS the cause of the battles. Hehe, this is too funny while people are being slaughtered and raped, that they need 3 weeks to 'assess'! They might as well go to Kuwait, because in 3 weeks, Iraq will be ISIL!!!!! Here's a recording of the advisors with Maliki:

    (Maliki) OK, advisors, what do you advise?
    (Advisors) Duck!
    (Maliki) OK, advisors, what's next?
    (Advisors) RUN!!!!
    (Maliki) If I can't duck and run, what then?
    (Advisors) Convert to Sunni Islam before it's too late!
    (Maliki) Thanks, advisors, you guys are the best! Who wants some more hummus?

    by: meanbill from: USA
    June 26, 2014 8:29 PM
    MY OPINION? -- Iraq needs the warplanes and helicopter gunships that Iraq bought from the US in 2012, that the US has never delivered... and Maliki said, if he'd had those warplanes and helicopter gunships when the (ISIL) first invaded Iraq, he'd defeated them.... CRAZY isn't it? .. the US supplied them to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and Israel, in the last (2) years?

    IN AFGHANISTAN? -- Karzai raged about the same broken promises from the US, made to him over (4) years ago, when the US promised old refurbished fighter planes, and old outdated refurbished Russian helicopter gunships to the Afghan Air Force, that never ever got delivered to this day...

    PS; The US wants those "Unequal Treaties" with Iraq and Afghanistan, and they deliberately withhold the warplanes, and helicopter gunships to force them to sign them... PLUS they arm and train the Sunni Muslims in Jordan and Turkey, to fight the Shia led governments in Syria and Iraq.... (CRAZY isn't it?).
    In Response

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    June 27, 2014 5:38 AM
    No, Meanbill, what's CRAZY is you still living in the US.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Marketsi
    X
    June 24, 2016 10:43 AM
    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Markets

    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.
    Video

    Video During Ramadan, Faith and Football Converge in Lebanon’s Megadome

    In Beirut, a group of young entrepreneurs has combined its Muslim faith and love of football to create the city's newest landmark: a large, Ramadan-ready dome primed for one of the biggest football (soccer) tournaments in the world. But as the faithful embrace the communal spirit of Islam’s holy month, it is not just those breaking their fasts that are welcome.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora