Just 10 days after their most recent deployment of ground troops into Iraq, the Pentagon has once again announced an additional deployment, saying that 615 new ground troops would be sent to Qayara to “assist” in the upcoming invasion of the city of Mosul.
These troops are to be of the official kind, with officials saying President Obama unilaterally upped the “cap” on ground troops to 5,262 to make room for this latest surge. The US has initially negotiated a limit to the number of troops, aiming both to try to downplay the size of the invasion, and to allow Iraq’s government to claim the US deployment was limited.
That cap has been busted time and again, however, and even moreso when one realizes how many US troops are operating inside Iraq who are not part of the official count. These troops are classified as “temporary,” but have no end-date associated with their deployment.
Including the temporary troops in Iraq, the US has surged past 6,000 ground troops, and when this new deployment is completed, the overall figure will be closer to 7,000. A substantial portion of these troops are deployed into Qayara, a base intended to serve as the base for the Mosul invasion.
While officials insist that the force remains advisory, the troops in Qayara are in the line of fire from ISIS forces in Mosul. Last week, ISIS fired a chemical shell at the base, though it hit a part that was as-yet unoccupied. With more troops coming all the time, there will be less and less unoccupied territory on the base.
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