Despite Secretary of State John Kerry saying that US military action was likely on hold until Iraq agrees on a new, post-Maliki government, the Pentagon today insisted there is a “sense of urgency” about the situation on the ground.
As the first US troops arrive in Iraq for “advisory” operations, the Pentagon says that they believe ISIS, which has taken over much of the nation’s west, is a “legitimate threat” to Baghdad itself and could seriously challenge the central government for its capital.
The first US troops will be operating out of Baghdad, but Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby says that they are considering setting up a secondary “joint operations center” in Iraq’s north.
Even with the “sense of urgency,” Kirby says the initial assessment of the state of Iraqi security won’t be completed for at least two or three weeks. This will likely put it beyond the formation of a new government, as indications are that those talks will begin in earnest at the end of the month.
2 thoughts on “Pentagon: ISIS a ‘Legitimate Threat’ to Baghdad”
Right. How do they intend to move about the country, doing the "assessment" – especially the north, when the Iraqi Army – now mostly Shia – are afraid of engaging the Sunni ISIS forces that basically surround Baghdad? And with ISIS picking up all the nice US-supplied military hardware – like portable anti-tank/anti-aircraft ordinance – left behind by the deserting US-trained Iraqi Army forces, it won't be safe to fly around in helicopters, one would assume.
I wonder if someone had to tell Kerry that ISIS is a threat or if he was able to figure that out on his own.
"Kirby says the initial assessment … won’t be completed for at least two or three weeks." The latest Battle of Baghdad may well be over before the USG initial assessment is complete.
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