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Battlefields: Iraq and Congress

Battlefields: Iraq and Congress

As 1,500 more troops head to Iraq, will election results affect our mission?

Congress is gearing up for the next big budget battle, and the Administration’s latest funding request could stir tensions between the midterm election’s winners and losers.

This week President Obama approved deployment of an additional 1,500 U.S. soldiers to help train Iraqi and Kurdish forces in their battle against ISIS. The additional forces and support activities will tack on an additional $5.6 billion to the budget, but defense officials argue that continuing success in the region means putting more resources to the task:

Lately, with the aid of the U.S. strikes, the Islamic State has suffered a number of losses in Iraq, where it is fighting government forces, peshmerga and Shiite militias aided by Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah group. Last week, Iraqi forces recaptured the town of Jurf al-Sakher. ISIS also lost Rabia, Mahmoudiyah and Zumar, a string of towns near the Syrian border, last month. Besieged Iraqi troops have also managed to maintain control of Iraq’s largest oil refinery outside the town of Beiji north of Baghdad, despite numerous attempts by the Islamic State group to capture it.

At the same time, some have warned the U.S. operation is insufficient. In particular, there have been calls to send troops to the western Anbar province, where extremists have been slaughtering men, women and children.

A senior military official said one of the operations centers being set up by the U.S. will be in Anbar Province, and that it is likely that the bulk of the additional troops will be in Iraq by the end of the year.

The money will also go toward “replenishing or replacing munitions expended while conducting air strikes against ISIL, including from Air force and Navy platforms” as well as “financing operations and maintenance costs for air, ground and naval operations, including: flying hours; ship steaming days; and fuel, supplies and repair parts,” according to the White House.

The elephant in the room, of course, is this past week’s elections, which many believe served as a mandate against President Obama’s policies at home and abroad. The media has already begun to hint at trouble brewing for this new mission and its funding.

From CNN:

“The President took these decisions at the request of the Iraqi Government and upon the recommendation of Secretary Hagel and his military commanders based upon the assessed needs of the Iraqi Security Forces,” the statement said.

“We believe this request is an opportunity for Congress and this Administration to work together to provide the additional resources needed to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL and I look forward to working with Congress to secure this funding,” said Shaun Donovan, Obama’s budget director.

The budget request marks an early test for cooperation between Obama and congressional leaders following the Republican rout in this week’s midterm elections that reshaped Washington’s balance of power.

This is an interesting (if not convenient) narrative to apply to the situation, considering that the Administration’s decisions regarding our part in the battle against ISIS have spurred disagreement between power players in Congress on both sides of the aisle.

Back in September, I wrote that the midterm elections would drastically affect the course of our actions in Iraq. The problem with the current narrative, then, is that it assumes (conveniently) that any dissension in the Beltway ranks will come as a result of this week’s Republican victories.

We may have won big on Tuesday, but don’t forget that the next two years are going to be a constant battle—both against media narratives like the one CNN hints at, and against Democrats in Washington who will seize onto those narratives and cry “obstruction” every chance they get.


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Why isn’t Saudi Arabia and Iraq footing the bill?

    Ragspierre in reply to wukong. | November 8, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Why would they? We are.

    Why should they consider we’d act towards them differently than we’ve acted towards all of Europe and the Pacific Rim?

    Everybody…us included…got used to the idea that we were Defense Daddy. There was a reason for that right after the war, but it got to be a habit…and not a good habit for anyone, really.

    It would take a strong leader to break the news to the world that everyone needed to pitch in, and we ain’t got that. In fact, the Obamic Decline MAY work to that end, but it could cost us a world-wide conflagration in the process. There are MUCH less lethal ways to that end.

Doug Wright Old Grouchy | November 8, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Goodness gracious, great balls of fire, I’m hoping no one starts saying that there’s light at the end of the tunnel because Iraq now is beginning to look a lot like how 1962 Vietnam looked back then! Nothing to see here, Folks, move along!

Obama is under a strong pressure from all media and from the many US politicians on payroll of Israel (like Mc Cain) to commit US troops on the ground against ISIS and to end up fighting on behalf of Israel a World War of Religions. The US president recognizes the Zionist trap and for a long time he opposed resistance although now he has been obliged to send a few more troops. But that will not be the end of the story. The Zionists have only one objective in mind and know too well that once there will be many US casualties the omelet will be ready. Don’t let the media fool you. The world conspiracy is not a theory.
Notice how strange is that ISIS threatened Europe and the entire World but not Israel which is next to it. This masquerade goes on in this great stage while the future of all people depends precisely on how ISIS, Al Qaeda and 9/11 are intended. For the sake of the next generations our generation should make all efforts for a new World apparatus to thoroughly investigate the events of 9/11. President Obama could make the difference and promote a new Commission that this time will not only pretend to investigate like the past Commission did. Among many questions and with the cooperation of other Countries an answer must be found for also the inexplicable fall of “Building 7”. A second investigation should be launched against Senator John Mc Cain after it has been revealed that he had met with the founder of ISIS. —Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), in an interview with the Daily Beast, Sept. 16 “Here’s the problem. He [Sen. John McCain] did meet with ISIS, and had his picture taken, and didn’t know it was happening at the time”. This picture is the obvious evidence that the World conspiracy is not a theory. The chief of ISIS is that same Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who spent time in a US prison and in a meeting with Mc Cain before being released in 2009. There is no doubt that the Zionists and their counter terrorist agencies have all the means to enlist and pay well mercenaries of all Countries and Islamic extremists without having to show their face or their wallet. The Zionists are the masters of Deception. Perhaps a few will still remember when George W. Bush told the terrorized US citizens to seal their windows with duct tape to protect from an imminent chemical attack. An irony like this can tell a story. The next day on the shelves of the stores all over the US there was no more duct tape for sale.

The comedy will go on with the tears of the Pharisees while in Jerusalem the situation of Al Aqsa mosque will get to a boiling point. It will be Jeb Bush, the next US president, to fix everything with a spectacular final act and to announce what was invoked for the first time by his father: a New World Order.
What you see between Israel and Palestine is the gauge to visualize what is in store for everyone.
Israel was a concept before it became a State and today is a State like no other. In fact it is the only Country in the World that has never defined its borders since its Declaration of Independence and now is ready to expand its territory through the use of any means. The New World Order is precisely a Greater State of Israel that extends to the whole World and that celebrates one Crown at the top.

At this point a distinction must be done. The Jewish people are in no way responsible for what a few Zionists have plotted and while it would not be possible for anyone to Believe in Equality and at the same time to be anti-Semite it is possible for anyone to oppose the pyramidal concept of Zionism also in the name of those who aren’t born yet and will never have the same possibility we have today before this War begins.

So U.S. advisers are going to train the Iraqi military not to run like scared little girls at the first sign of trouble?