Friday, May 27, 2022

U.S. Will Send 560 Troops to Iraq

BAGHDAD – United States defense secretary Ash Carter announced on Monday that the U.S. will be sending 560 troops to help combat Islamic State (ISIS) militants in the city of Mosul. Mosul is the capital of Nineveh province and the second largest city in Iraq. Many consider it to be a very strategic point in the battle for power in the Middle East.

ISIS in Mosul

ISIS has controlled Mosul since June 2014; what was once a rich, vibrant city full of history is now a shell of its former self. ISIS occupation has reduced the population from 2 million to around 700,000. Numbers continue to dwindle as civilians attempt to escape from the city. The majority of the remaining inhabitants are Sunni Muslims – other religious minorities like Christians and Yazidis have been forced to flee the city.

Black and white picture of a sacred shrine on top of a hill.
The Tomb of Jonah was a sacred site for Muslims and Christians in Mosul. It was destroyed by ISIS in 2014.
Photo: Library of Congress


ISIS has ruled Mosul with an iron fist. For the past two years, it has banned prayers on Eid al-Fitr, claiming that the celebrations marking the end of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, are not part of the religion that it practices, though Eid celebrations are seen as extremely important by many Muslims. These decrees come on top of the ethnic cleansing and destruction of ancient artifacts that ISIS is well known for.



Reclaiming Territory

Until several weeks ago, the situation in Mosul was looking dire. It was predicted that, without foreign aid, the offensive against the ISIS-held city would likely fail. However, on July 9th, Iraqi forces were able to reclaim the Qayyarah airfield in Nineveh province. The air base is a strategic location from which Iraqi resistance forces can wage their attack on Mosul.

A man sitting in a military vehicle flying the Iraqi flag in the desert
The Qayyarah airfield is a strategic location for Iraqi resistance troops. Photo: dailymail


This news came just weeks after the city of Fallujah in Western Iraq was liberated from ISIS, and this turn of events has made the Iraqi government hopeful that it can reclaim the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants.

These strategic gains have come after what has been a long and gruelling offensive for Iraqi troops. Because of the unstable political climate in Iraq, its military has been underprepared and understaffed to deal with the campaign against ISIS; American commanders predicted earlier this year that, without U.S. aid, the offensive against Mosul would be unsuccessful. In an effort to make good on Obama’s promise to destroy ISIS, United States troops have been ferrying food and equipment to resistance fighters for some time now.

United States will Send More Troops to Iraq

On the heels of the recapture of Fallujah and the Qayyarah air base, The United States has agreed to send more troops to help liberate Mosul. By providing infrastructure and logistical assistance at the Qayyarah air base, it is hoped that U.S. troops will be able “to establish a logistics and air hub in the immediate vicinity of Mosul under the control of the Iraqi security forces,” said defense secretary Carter.

Mr. Carter made the announcement at the Baghdad airport on Monday as he was addressing troops. The additional troops will bring the official number of Americans in Iraq to about 4,600, though other estimates suggest that it may be closer to 5,000.'
Phoebe Harnish
When she's not writing, you can usually find Phoebe making music, reading, or enjoying the great outdoors. Phoebe studies literature and linguistics at a small liberal arts college in Pennsylvania.


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