In addition to the 275 US Marines deployed to the US Embassy in Baghdad yesterday, another 550 Marines are being brought into the area off the coast of Baghdad by the USS Mesa Verde, one of four US warships that have joined the aircraft carrier USS George H W Bush in the Persian Gulf.
Exactly what this means to future deployments in Iraq remains to be seen, as the US is still presenting air strikes as the most probable course of action in intervention against the growing ISIS takeover.
Though the US is still officially predicating its intervention on the Maliki government making reforms, the indications are that the plans are going forward either way, and that the administration was just trying to squeeze some concessions out of the Iraqi PM under duress.
And while officials have previously ruled out “combat forces on the ground” in Iraq, some have suggested they don’t see an air campaign working without some sort of ground component, and the administration’s notoriously secretive plans remain unclear. Throwing significant troops at Iraq would be hugely unpopular after the 2003 occupation turned into a multi-year fiasco, though the administration seems keen to save face by saving the Maliki government, at least for the time being.