Report

U.S. to Send 450 Trainers to Anbar Province

Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced its plans to send 450 additional U.S. troops to Iraq, bringing the total number of U.S. troops there to 3,550. The British military will also be deploying an additional 150 trainers for a total of 1,000 troops in Iraq. The new contingent of troops are being sent at the request ...

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Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced its plans to send 450 additional U.S. troops to Iraq, bringing the total number of U.S. troops there to 3,550. The British military will also be deploying an additional 150 trainers for a total of 1,000 troops in Iraq. The new contingent of troops are being sent at the request of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and will be assisting with training Sunni tribal fighters at Al Taqqadum military base, near Habbaniya in Anbar province. The Obama administration also said that it would speed up the delivery of weapons and equipment, which fighters in Iraq say have been slow to arrive.

The administration and others stressed that this does not signify a shift in strategy. “This decision does not represent a change in mission, but rather adds another location for D.O.D. to conduct similar activities in more areas in Iraq,” the Department of Defense said in a statement. “The loss of Ramadi needed a response,” said Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress. “I see this as more of a tactical shift. The focus is still on getting the Iraqis to pull their own weight. It is important, but largely tactical.”

Details Emerge on Attack at Ancient Egyptian Temple

More details have been reported about the attack at the ancient Karnak temple at Luxor yesterday. One suicide bomber detonated his explosives, another was shot and killed, and the third was wounded, according to Egypt’s Interior Ministry. Four people were wounded, but no civilians were killed. Though no group has claimed the attack, it is the second recent attack at a tourist site; gunmen on a motorcycle gunned down two police officers at Giza last Wednesday. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi responded by increasing security at tourist sites.

Headlines

  • With days to go before the start of peace talks in Geneva, heavy fighting between Houthi fighters and local popular militias in Aden killed 43 people yesterday.

 

  • Cybersecurity experts have found that three of the hotels used for international nuclear negotiations with Iran have been been attacked with computer spyware believed to have originated in Israel; an Israeli official denied the government’s involvement.

 

  • Three al-Qaeda suspects were targeted by an airstrike — likely launched by a U.S. drone — in Mukalla, Yemen, which is currently under the control of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

 

  • The United States has reportedly stopped funding a program in Lebanon to foster alternative Shia political voices to Hezbollah, prompting criticisms that it is caving to Iranian pressure.

 

  • Palestinian officials say they are pressing ahead with plans to challenge Israel at the International Criminal Court and will present a preliminary report at the Hague on June 25.

Arguments and Analysis

Year of Abuses Under al-Sisi” (Human Rights Watch)

“The United States and European governments should stop overlooking Egyptian government abuses, including a lack of accountability for many killings of protesters by security forces, mass detentions, military trials of civilians, hundreds of death sentences, and the forced eviction of thousands of families in the Sinai Peninsula. Over the past year, al-Sisi and his cabinet, governing by decree in the absence of an elected parliament, have provided near total impunity for security force abuses and issued a raft of laws that severely curtailed civil and political rights, effectively erasing the human rights gains of the 2011 uprising that ousted the longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.”

 

The evil of our time” (Frederick W. Kagan, American Enterprise Institute)

“Statements this strong would seem to demand an all-out effort to destroy this evil, similar to the effort Americans once made to destroy Nazism. Such a large-scale effort may be necessary and appropriate, but that is not yet clear. The threat of ISIS is more complex and insidious than that of Nazism. It has already metastasized throughout the Middle East and is spreading into the US, Europe, and Australia as well. Reinvading Iraq or invading Syria is clearly not the right answer at this time. It is better to support Iraqis already fighting ISIS than to take possession of the fight ourselves, and conditions are not set in Syria, the region, or the United States to require or support a massive American intervention. Sound strategy, indeed, would continue to search for all possible solutions to the dilemma that could avoid such a terrible option in any case.”

 

-J. Dana Stuster

John Moore/Getty Images

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