Last week, Pentagon officials were talking up a few hundred additional “trainers” for the ISIS war in Iraq and Syria. This appears to have just been the start, as reports now suggest that over the last several weeks, the Pentagon has sought another 800 US troops for the war.
800 would be a big deployment for a war in which the “no boots on the ground” mantra has continued to be repeated by the administration, so the plan is to split this up over several deployments. Over the past 18 months, the US has brought some 3,700 troops into Iraq, over a large number of small escalations.
In all of this the Pentagon has repeatedly suggested coalition partners would make up a lot of these deployments, though recently they’ve complained that many in the coalition are doing “nothing at all” for the war effort, and several have spurned requests for more troops.
Even this effort to get up to 4,500 troops on the ground is just the near-term goal, and doesn’t seem like it’s going to be anything close to the end of the ongoing escalation of the war.
Absent from the Pentagon push for ever more troops is the question of if the Iraqi government will go along with it. Several times in the past they’ve expressed annoyance at the US announcing escalations before asking them, and several Shi’ite militias in Iraq have complained that the US presence is already far too large.