Obama sends 350 more troops to Baghdad

2014-09-03 08:05
(US Army, Staff Sergeant Michael Behlin/ AFP)

(US Army, Staff Sergeant Michael Behlin/ AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - President Barack Obama on Tuesday ordered about 350 more US troops to Baghdad to safeguard American diplomats in the Iraqi capital, increasing the US military presence to more than 1 000 forces.

The move comes after a request last month from the State Department for additional US troops to bolster security for the US embassy and other facilities in Iraq, where Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremists have seized territory in the north and west of the country.

White House and Pentagon officials issued the announcement hours after the ISIS jihadists released another grisly video showing a masked militant with a British accent cutting the throat of an American captive.

The Sunni extremist group, also known as ISIL, has declared an Islamic "caliphate" in regions under its control in Iraq and Syria, after it swept through much of the Sunni Arab heartland north of Baghdad and then stormed minority Christian and Yazidi areas.

US aircraft have been bombing ISIS extremists in Iraq since 8 August, particularly around the Mosul dam in the north, and Washington already has deployed hundreds of troops to shore up security for its diplomats in Baghdad.

"The president authorised the Department of Defence to fulfil a Department of State request for approximately 350 additional US military personnel to protect our diplomatic facilities and personnel in Baghdad, Iraq," the White House said in a statement.

The United States will "continue to support the government of Iraq's efforts to counter ISIS, which poses a threat not only to Iraq, but to the broader Middle East and US personnel and interests in the region," it said.

Obama, on his way to Estonia and a Nato summit in Wales, said Washington "will be consulting this week with Nato allies regarding additional actions to take against ISIS and to develop a broad-based international coalition to implement a comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners in the fight against ISIS."

The latest troop deployment brings the number of forces devoted to security for US diplomats in Iraq to 820, the Pentagon said. An additional 300 troops are serving as "advisors" to Iraqi security forces, for a total footprint of more than 1 000 troops.

Under the president's decision, about 400 troops will head to Baghdad and about 55 forces that have been on the ground will rotate out of the country, officials said.

Little fanfare

The additional US forces will come from bases in the Middle East and will include a headquarters element, medical personnel, an air liaison team and a number of helicopters, according to Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby.

The troop deployment is designed "to provide a more robust and sustainable security presence to help the Department of State continue their critical mission," Kirby said in a statement.

The troop decision was announced with little fanfare in emails to reporters, instead of at White House or Pentagon briefings in front of television cameras.

Obama was elected in 2008 on a promise to end the US war in Iraq and he touted the departure of all US forces from the country in 2011 when he ran for re-election in 2012.

But the onslaught of the ISIS jihadists has prompted a reluctant Obama to reverse course, sending in troops and ordering air strikes to try to counter the advance of the extremists.

The Obama administration has said the US military intervention is limited to safeguarding US personnel, supporting humanitarian efforts to protect threatened civilians and assisting Iraqi government forces battling the ISIS extremists.

But Obama's critics say he has moved too slowly in the face of the threat posed by the ISIS militants.

Read more on:    isis  |  nato  |  barack obama  |  iraq  |  us

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Men.24 Model of the Week: Wendy from Cape Town

Find out more about our featured model, Wendy from Cape Town


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.