US officials say that a recent Baghdad visit by top Obama aides, including deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken saw them fielding requests from Iraqi leaders for increased deployments of US troops as “military advisers” on the ground in Iraq.
The exact number of new troops being sought is not disclosed, but it’s also not the end of the story, with Iraq also reportedly pushing for more airstrikes, more weapons, more tanks for the Iraqi military. Just more in general.
Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish factions are similarly pushing for more US involvement, with the idea that their fight against ISIS is dependent on sucking the Pentagon ever-deeper into the conflict.
Perhaps the scariest part is that Pentagon officials are promising that more is coming, particularly in the air campaign, and are citing heavy rain and concerns about civilian casualties as the reason the attacks haven’t been bigger.
Iraqi officials who bought into the US involvement believing it would be a panacea are increasingly complaining, with Sunni MP Jamila Obeidi complaining that the US hadn’t returned a single ISIS-held city to Iraqi control.
The danger here is that the administration is so desperate for public approval from the Iraqi government that they’ll give in and escalate the war even more than they already have, sucking the US deeper into the protracted conflict.