Monday, June 16, 2014

US Troops ‘Equipped for Combat’ Head For Iraq

CNS News
June 16, 2014
Flashback: A U.S. Army sergeant patrols with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and the Iraqi Army in Mosul on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File)

( – The U.S. is sending around 275 troops, “equipped for combat,” to Iraq to bolster security at the American Embassy in Baghdad, President Obama informed Congress on Monday night – the first operational deployment there since the withdrawal in late 2011.
“This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat,” he said in a War Powers Resolution notification to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the president pro tempore of the Senate, Sen. Patrick Leahy. (D-Vt.).
“This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed,” Obama said. “This action has been directed consistent with my responsibility to protect U.S. citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.”
Obama said the deployment had begun on Sunday.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said teams totaling approximately 170 personnel began arriving in Baghdad over the weekend. A further approximately 100 personnel had been moved into the region for airfield management, security, and logistics support.
“All of these forces are trained to integrate with existing U.S. Embassy security teams or operate as a standalone force as directed,” Kirby said.
“The safety of personnel serving in diplomatic missions abroad is among our highest priorities. The presence of these additional forces will help enable the State Department to continue their critical diplomatic mission and work with Iraqis on challenges they are facing.”
Kirby said the troops headed for Iraq were coming from within U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility. (CentCom’s area of responsibility stretches from Pakistan to Egypt, incorporating Central Asia and almost the entire Middle East.)
The troops are believed to include Army and Marines contingents, including members of a Bahrain-based Marines’ Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST).

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