Gen. Dempsey: Iraq May Defend Baghdad, But Probably Can’t Retake Lost Cities

Says Iraq Would Need 'Outside Help' to Reclaim West

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey sought to be optimistic about Iraq’s chances of defending Baghdad, saying early assessments are that the Iraqi military is likely capable of holding its capital from ISIS invasion.

That’s the end of the good news for Iraq, however, as Gen. Dempsey went on to concede that Iraq’s “logistically challenged” military would struggle to try to launch any counterattacks at all, and probably will never be able to retake cities from ISIS on its own.

Dempsey continued to try to downplay the notion that the US is going to be the “outside help” Iraq would have in retaking cities from ISIS, insisting “we’re not there yet,” on any decisions to take direct action in Iraq.

Despite this protestation, the US has been adding armed drones, combat troops and attack helicopters at a growing rate over the past few weeks, and even if no formal announcement on the intervention has been made, it’s impossible to deny that the deployment is building in that direction.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of