Pentagon Seeks 500 More Ground Troops in Iraq for Mosul Invasion

US Has Been Massing Troops Around Qayara for Months

by Jason Ditz, September 22, 2016

With officials saying that the planned invasion of the city of Mosul could begin as soon as October, the Pentagon is once again requesting more US ground troops be deployed into the area around the city, The Pentagon has already deployed several hundred troops multiple times in the last two months on the same basis.

The Pentagon is seeking another 500 “permanent” US troops in Iraq, which would bring the official figure in the country to 4,900. In practice, the Pentagon already is believed to have in excess of 6,000 troops in Iraq, but labels many of them “temporary” and doesn’t count them, despite their deployments not having any specific end date.

The new deployment, as with the previous few, would have the troops sent to Qayara Air Base, which Iraqi forces occupied back in July. Despite presenting the capture of the base as a great military victory, ISIS had abandoned it long ago, and the hundreds of US troops already there are mostly just helping fix the damage of years of US airstrikes on the base.

The plan is to use Qayara as the staging area in the invasion of Mosul, and while officials have previously claimed that the US troops would primarily be there for “logistics” purposes, it is expected that many will be embedded into the Iraqi forces.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz