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.

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Comment Sorting
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.

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