While the Pentagon and the Obama Administration continue to loudly insist that they are not involved in any ground operations in Iraq, the announcement of another 450 troops being sent into the nation is once again underscoring how much the strategy centers around putting troops where ISIS might attack them and justify further escalation.
Though presented as trainers slash advisers, these new ground troops are being sent to set up a brand new US military base at Taqaddum, just 15 miles from the Anbar capital of Ramadi, which was captured by ISIS only weeks previous.
Officials are presenting the site of the new base as necessary for the Pentagon’s determination to get closer ties between the Iraqi military and Sunni tribal fighters, who are centered around Anbar. Taqaddum is also right near where all the Shi’ite militias are being rallied by the Iraqi military, and perhaps more importantly right on the front line.
The Pentagon has been talking up getting the Sunnis more involved in the fighting for awhile, but with several Sunni tribes publicly joining sides with ISIS in recent days, it’s not clear there are enough left to shift the balance on the Iraqi government’s side.
The Pentagon clearly sees fighting ISIS as part of this deployment too, saying the troops who arrive in 6-8 weeks will include about 100 advisers and the rest will mostly be security forces to protect those advisers, necessary since they’re being placed conspicuously in harm’s way.