Pentagon Wants New Base in Iraq

500 more troops to be sent as focus shifts to Ramadi
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2015 4:40 AM CDT
Pentagon Wants New Base in Iraq
This photo taken June 3, 2015, shows a destroyed bridge on the Euphrates river in northern Ramadi, Iraq.   (AP Photo)

Instead of trying to help Iraqi forces recapture the city ISIS seized a year ago, the US has decided to focus on helping them capture the city militants seized less than a month ago. Ramadi is the capital of Anbar province, and the White House is expected to approve a Pentagon plan to establish a new base in the province and send up to 500 more military trainers there, the Wall Street Journal reports. American officials say there had been some debate about how much of a priority recapturing Mosul, the country's second-largest city, would be, but the recent fall of Ramadi settled the question; now Mosul may have to wait until 2016, reports the New York Times. Defense Secretary Ash Carter blamed the fall of Ramadi on Iraqi forces' lack of will to fight.

Critics say the proposed modest expansion of the US role is nowhere near what's required to defeat ISIS, the Journal reports. "One has to wonder whether this president just wants to wait out the next year and a half and basically do nothing to stop this genocide, bloodletting, horrible things that are happening throughout the Middle East," Sen. John McCain told fellow senators Monday. The new troops will bring the number of US advisers and trainers in Iraq to around 3,600, but there's a shortage of people for them to train in at least one site, the Hill reports. Defense officials say it has been more than four weeks since the Baghdad government sent any recruits to Al Asad air base, although 2,601 Iraqis are being trained elsewhere. (Read more Ramadi stories.)

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