World Bulletin / News Desk
President Barack Obama on Wednesday ordered the deployment of 450 more U.S. troops to Iraq to advise and assist fragile Iraqi forces being built up to try to retake territory lost to ISIL.
The plan to expand the 3,100-strong U.S. contingent in Iraq and open a new operations center closer to the fighting in Anbar province marks an adjustment in strategy for Obama, who has faced mounting pressure to do more to blunt the momentum of the insurgents.
A complex challenge for the U.S. troops, who will establish a training hub at the Taqaddum military base only about 15 miles (25 km) from Ramadi, will be their outreach to tribal fighters, many of whom do not trust the government in Baghdad.
"To improve the capabilities and effectiveness of partners on the ground, the president authorized the deployment of up to 450 additional U.S. military personnel to train, advise and assist Iraqi Security Forces," the White House said in a statement.
Obama also ordered "the expedited delivery of essential equipment and materiel" to Iraqi forces, including Kurdish peshmerga troops and Sunni fighters operating under Iraqi command, the White House said.
In addition to training troops, the US is sending weapons to Iraqi army and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces fighting ISIL.
“The President has also directed the expedited delivery of essential equipment and materiel in coordination with the central government to Iraqi forces, including Peshmerga and tribal fighters, operating under Iraqi command, to ensure that our partners have the equipment needed to effectively fight ISIL” the statement said.
Obama decided on the new troop deployment in response to a request from Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, the White House said. The two leaders met while attending the G7 summit in Germany earlier this week.
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