Obama Prepares Path For Western 'Boots on Ground' in Iraq/Syria

By Abdel Bari Atwan

This weekend’s G20 conference in Brisbane, Australia saw President Obama preparing the ground for a possible ‘boots on the ground’ intervention to confront the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Having told a Press conference that he would not speculate on what sort of circumstances would prompt sending large numbers of American troops back to Iraq he promptly did just that: “If we discover that ISIL had gotten possession of a nuclear weapon,” Mr. Obama said, “and we had to run an operation to get it out of their hands, then yes, you can anticipate that not only would Chairman Dempsey recommend sending US ground troops to get that weapon out of their hands, but I would order it.”

Although continuing to emphasize that he would prefer Iraqi security forces to contain the situation themselves and that the US was sending ‘advisors’ to train them, his statement does seem to be preparing the way for a ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ (WMD) pretext for a second time.

President Obama has tripled the number of US troops in Iraq to 3,100 troops, and confirmed a week ago that the number will rise, and that more troops on the way.

We do not believe that such a large number of troops are required simply to train Iraqi forces; it seems likely that Obama is contemplating a more robust plan, for the following reasons:

First, there is a consensus among US military analysts that the ongoing aerial bombardment of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has achieved little success in weakening and reducing its strength, and that there is no alternative to having troops on the ground.

Second, many credible reports from Western sources suggest that US ‘advisers’ accompanied Iraqi forces in the fight to regain cities and towns in Al-Anbar province, as well as the siege of the town of Baiji which is home to the largest oil refinery in Iraq.

Third, General Martin Dempsey, America’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff made a surprise visit to Baghdad where, according to the Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abbadi, he offered to send US troops to help the Iraqi Army in key battles, such as  Nineveh, on the Iraqi-Syrian border. Al-Abbadi reported that he refused this offer, claiming that the army, supported by Shiite militias and ‘Awakening’ tribes were able to fulfil this mission unaided.

Mr. Abbadi commented that Iraq does not require the presence of ‘foreign troops’ in order to deal with the Islamic State. But this is somewhat illogical given that he has already allowed foreign planes into Iraqi air space to target Islamic State. The principle is surely the same?

Another point that cannot be ignored is the introduction of ‘nuclear weapons’ into the equation. Where are the Islamic State meant to get its hands on such weapons? ” The only State in the region that has nuclear weapons is Israel; does the Islamic State have the ability to reach Dimona, or Israel’s nuclear warhead stockpiles, and then seize them?  Obviously not.

It seems that the Americans are preparing the public, both at home and abroad, for a  return of American troops to Iraq, but under the pretext of protecting the region from the threats posed by the Islamic State. Last Thursday, the top US General, Martin Dempsey, told a congressional hearing that it would take 80,000 ‘effective military troops’ to retake the terrain lost in Iraq to Islamic State, including Mosul.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State continues to provoke the US. Yesterday it executed a former US soldier, Peter Kassig, on camera and its spokesman urged the Pentagon to send more soldiers to share his fate.

If the US (still believing itself the ‘world’s policeman’) does indeed become embroiled in Iraq – and possibly Syria – it will show that the US learned nothing from its previous debacle which was launched in 2003 and the region will sink even further into a bloody quagmire and paralyzing chaos.

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  1. No one doubts that us ‘s intention from attacking the Islamic state through Iraqremains the same way to re-colonize d the state anew

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