Jul 7, 2014

Iraqi military can't regain lost territory on its own

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey on Thursday issued a bleak assessment of the crisis in Iraq, saying that nation’s armed forces are probably incapable of regaining control of areas captured by Islamic extremists and the U.S. may need to expand its military support mission there.
Initial intelligence reports from the 200 U.S. military advisers on the ground in Iraq now suggest that Iraqi security forces “are stiffening, that they are capable of defending Baghdad ... [but] would be challenged to go on the offense, mostly logistically challenged,” Dempsey said.
The American troops on the ground have a limited, two-pronged mission — to provide security for U.S. personnel at the embassy and at the Baghdad airport, and to work alongside the Iraqi army to both assess its capabilities and offer advice in the fight against the group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.
ISIL, estimated to have about 10,000 fighters across Syria and Iraq, has consolidated control over large swaths of territory during the past several weeks and recently declared the formation of their own Islamic state, or caliphate.

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