Back to the future: Iraq may be open to return of some U.S. troops

posted at 5:21 pm on May 9, 2014 by Allahpundit

Not infantry, says Foreign Policy, but drone operators. Sunni jihadis are rampaging anew in Anbar province, enabled by the maelstrom next door in Syria, and the Shiite government in Baghdad is desperate for ways to push them back. Two weeks ago, Reuters reported that Maliki’s latest innovation in combating the Sunni menace was, er, government-backed Shiite militias, which signals a return to Iraq’s beyond-Thunderdome days of 2006.

Time for Uncle Sam to step in?

The Iraqi government is actively seeking armed drones from the U.S. to combat al Qaeda in its increasingly violent Anbar province and, in a significant reversal, would welcome American military drone operators back into the country to target those militants on its behalf, according to people with knowledge of the matter…

While selling the Iraqis such systems outright would likely be a political non-starter, at least some officials from the same government that once demanded the withdrawal of all U.S. troops have switched their tune and now want U.S. personnel to come back to Iraq to operate the unmanned aircraft if that’s what it would take to obtain the capability.

“There is more willingness to have a discussion” about having American trainers and technicians return to the country to support and operate armed drone systems, said a senior Iraqi official, speaking anonymously due to the sensitive nature of the matter…

There remains the possibility that the U.S. could approve such a plan but maintain a covert operation in Iraq run by the CIA. A U.S. official said the U.S. government is looking to expand cooperation with the Iraqis under the existing “Strategic Framework Agreement” signed in 2008 in terms of doing more information sharing, additional training, and other advising. But there is no plan to provide armed drones to the Iraqis or provide U.S. personnel to Iraq to operate such systems, the official said.

Would Obama consider sending drone teams to Baghdad to start picking off Al Qaeda units on the ground? Sure, why not? Americans may be war weary but they were war weary in 2011 too and no one put up much of a fuss when O decided to bomb Libya. They’ll accept war from the air, including/especially war by remote control; it’s American casualties they oppose, not American bombs falling on the enemy. The thought of sending any members of the U.S. military back into Iraq at this point is … unhelpful politically, shall we say, but that can be finessed easily enough. Explain to the public that these are the heirs to Bin Laden and Zarqawi, the people who are helping to make Syria a living hell, who’ll surely target America if/when they can carve out safe territory somewhere. There’s really no choice but go on offense.

Besides, using drones in Iraq would achieve three things for the White House. One: It would give them more leverage over Maliki, whom they’re forever begging to reconcile with the Sunni leadership. He won’t do it, but he might be more responsive to them in the short and medium term if he’s partly dependent on America’s help in dealing with them militarily. It’ll also give the U.S. some leverage over Baghdad vis-a-vis Iran, who’ll otherwise be Maliki’s only protector. Two: It’ll impress America’s new frenemies in Tehran, who’d naturally love to see the Sunnis in Iraq and Syria take a beating from the United States. Our “allies” in Riyadh might look dimly on it but Obama already kinda sorta burned that bridge by making his phony nuclear deal with the mullahs. Consider drone strikes on AQ a goodwill gesture to the Shiite power. And most importantly, three: The U.S. is probably going to need a base in the neighborhood soon anyway in order to start launching drone strikes on Al Qaeda members in Syria. If jihadi rebels manage to reach a stalemate with Assad and carve out some territory for their new Sunnistan, that’ll quickly jump up our Places To Bomb list. Turkey’s the natural choice to stage U.S. drone attacks across the border but you never know which way Turkish politics will go; it’d be useful to have the gratitude of the Iraqi prime minister and a prefab staging area in Iraq too. O (probably) wouldn’t even need to get a new Status of Forces Agreement through the Senate to do it. The only potential political impediment for him is that he promised last year that he was going to kinda sorta rein in drone attacks, but conservatives won’t hassle him on that and the left will quickly roll over and play dead if he insists. Seems like a no-brainer.


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This is what happens when you have Barry and Harry trying to grab defeat out of the jaws of victory.

V7_Sport on May 9, 2014 at 5:25 PM

It will cost you three trillion dollars in oil and our guys write the rules of engagement.

TinFin on May 9, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Good luck with that. Obummer wouldn’t be willing to part with a couple of Boy Scouts and one of the rubber-band balsa-wood airplanes.

trigon on May 9, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Screw em…they deserve the hell hole they have created. Enough blood and treasure have been lost in that crap hole.

trs on May 9, 2014 at 5:34 PM

What happened to #hashtag warfare?

the_nile on May 9, 2014 at 5:35 PM

The Iraqi government is actively seeking armed drones from the U.S. to combat al Qaeda in its increasingly violent Anbar province and, in a significant reversal, would welcome American military drone operators back into the country to target those militants on its behalf, according to people with knowledge of the matter…

IOW, the Iraqi government would like to use our equipment to assassinate individuals they don’t like.

MY response would be, now that we’re out, something like this:

“You boys don’t seem to have any trouble blowing each other up with car bombs and IEDs when you want to. I suggest you improvise with what you have and do your own killing. Oh, and whoever has your job after you get blown up or your head gets lopped off, I’ll tell him the same story”

BobMbx on May 9, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Screw em…they deserve the hell hole they have created. Enough blood and treasure have been lost in that crap hole.

trs on May 9, 2014 at 5:34 PM

This.

Oil Can on May 9, 2014 at 5:39 PM

That ship has sailed. We are done there.

TX-96 on May 9, 2014 at 5:40 PM

America and its Muslim friends. Has that taste in your mouth paid off yet? Keep hunting for that moderate Caliph you can make money with.

BL@KBIRD on May 9, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Bob Mbx is exactly right. After all the crap you gave us you can just sack up and make your own IEDs.

Alabama Mike on May 9, 2014 at 5:43 PM

drone kills are the thing Barack does best. keep it up

gerrym51 on May 9, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Screw em…they deserve the hell hole they have created. Enough blood and treasure have been lost in that crap hole.

trs on May 9, 2014 at 5:34 PM

I couldn’t agree more. But I think Allah’s correct in believing that Obama will send in the drones, for political purposes.

Splashman on May 9, 2014 at 5:53 PM

Good luck with that. Obummer wouldn’t be willing to part with a couple of Boy Scouts and one of the rubber-band balsa-wood airplanes.

trigon on May 9, 2014 at 5:30 PM

I’m not so sure, we have heard that he gets off on drone-porn in the White House, especially when he has given the specific order. He fantasizes that it’s TEA Party HQ that he’s bombing.

slickwillie2001 on May 9, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Sunni jihadis are rampaging anew in Anbar province, enabled by the maelstrom next door in Syria, and the Shiite government in Baghdad is desperate for ways to push them back.

We don’t really want to pick sides between Sunni and Shiite factions. Besides, Al Qaeda is on the run.

Happy Nomad on May 9, 2014 at 6:03 PM

This is what happens when you have Barry and Harry trying to grab defeat out of the jaws of victory.

V7_Sport on May 9, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Yup

Deafdog on May 9, 2014 at 6:03 PM

If it harms our country , Hussein will do it.

burrata on May 9, 2014 at 6:20 PM

So when Hussein uses American drones to kill innocent women and children in Iraq,
will that create more
or
lesser number of jihadies ?

burrata on May 9, 2014 at 6:27 PM

No, the Iraqi’s have it wrong: al Qaeda is on the run. Terrorism is dead. These are not the insurgents you’re looking for.

BKeyser on May 9, 2014 at 6:40 PM

Back to the Wilsonian Stupidity future

VorDaj on May 9, 2014 at 6:46 PM

American troops are not suppose to be lab rats. Let the neocons go this time.

VorDaj on May 9, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Any US troops reinserted into Iraq should be confined to Kurdistan with ROE’s allowing the full use of deadly force upon all non-Kurdish militia and irregular forces.

Another Drew on May 9, 2014 at 6:56 PM

Back to the future: Iraq may be open to return of some U.S. troops

Why us? I can’t believe there aren’t any merc outfits out there capable of handling the likes of Al-Qaeda, ROE be damned.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 9, 2014 at 7:20 PM

Where is Code Pink?I prefer B-52 carpet bombing with a few planes that have scrambled grid coordinates over a couple other areas.

docflash on May 9, 2014 at 7:21 PM

Like Afghanistan, the US had bags of money they would distribute to various local leaders to pay for ‘damages’ and to maintain a ‘relationship’ with the locals. Couple mil cash a month in Syria too Guess they must miss the blood money.

Consider drone strikes on AQ a goodwill gesture to the Shiite power.

Unless the US renounces Israel it will not be considered a goodwill gesture. It will be considered using one enemy to kill another

And most importantly, three: The U.S. is probably going to need a base in the neighborhood soon anyway in order to start launching drone strikes on Al Qaeda members in Syria. If jihadi rebels manage to reach a stalemate with Assad and carve out some territory for their new Sunnistan, that’ll quickly jump up our Places To Bomb list. – AP

Not sure about that

04-12-14 Father Michael Maloof, The Turkish military is actively assisting foreign-backed Sunni Islamic militants who are routing Christian Armenians from the northwestern Syrian town of Kassab, Syrian and Lebanese sources told WND.

The Turkish government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denied any involvement in aiding al-Nusra militants, even though Erdogan, who also is Sunni, has allowed the Syrian opposition and al-Nusra militants to use his country as a base from which to launch military operations, hold meetings and store supplies.

Sources told WND that Turkish military personnel manning the border between Turkey and Syria allowed the foreign Islamic militants to pass without interference.

In the middle east, who yo friend?

The Turkish government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denied any involvement in aiding al-Nusra militants, even though Erdogan, who also is Sunni, has allowed the Syrian opposition and al-Nusra militants to use his country as a base from which to launch military operations, hold meetings and store supplies.

Sources told WND that Turkish military personnel manning the border between Turkey and Syria allowed the foreign Islamic militants to pass without interference.

Iran is shia. Turkey is, Turkey. Drones need a base. We need to know who we are killing. The Obamadans are not smart enough to play this game, despite the fact Oblama used to pray toward Mecca

entagor on May 9, 2014 at 7:25 PM

…not unless the Muslim Brotherhood is in power!/

KOOLAID2 on May 9, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Any US troops reinserted into Iraq should be confined to Kurdistan with ROE’s allowing the full use of deadly force upon all non-Kurdish militia and irregular forces.

Another Drew on May 9, 2014 at 6:56 PM

You got it right.

rlwo2008 on May 9, 2014 at 8:49 PM

This is the wrong drone base at the wrong time. It requires a willing suspension of disbelief that Obozo would reinvade Iraq just for the benefit of United Technologies (either elevators or armaments, whatever), Raytheon, and Halliburton!!!

Or something like that.

Will it mean fewer drones over my head? I THINK NOT!

Gotta spend an extra trillion per year somewhere.

WryTrvllr on May 9, 2014 at 9:02 PM

I don’t see the American people buying into this.

justbob223 on May 9, 2014 at 9:51 PM

No thanks..we already pissed away trillions for nothing..of course I’m sure some crony with connections to defense and lobbyists will make a case for more taxpayer dollars to keep the roast beef rare in DC….paging John Bolton….

celt on May 9, 2014 at 10:02 PM

It’s been such a beautiful, friendly relationship, why spoil it with a needless encore?

David Blue on May 9, 2014 at 10:58 PM

I don’t see the American people buying into this.

justbob223 on May 9, 2014 at 9:51 PM

I think you’re right, and I hope so.

But it’s amazing how often scaremongering has worked. Every local warlord is the next Hitler, if you listen to neocon propaganda.

David Blue on May 9, 2014 at 11:01 PM

Absolutely No More American troops in Iraq! Bush had this war almost turned around to be possibly winnable but then Obummer pulled all the troops out and lost it on purpose. What Obummer did was despicable but we should not go back in. What makes anybody think that Obummer will not cut and run again when the going gets tough?

sherrimae on May 9, 2014 at 11:12 PM

Pinprick warfare has proven to be a total failure. Either employ WWII style warfare or no more foreign wars.

cimbri on May 10, 2014 at 1:59 AM

Where is Code Pink?I prefer B-52 carpet bombing with a few planes that have scrambled grid coordinates over a couple other areas.

docflash on May 9, 2014 at 7:21 PM

I’m in Baghdad….a few hours notice before you take this route would be appreciated.

JetBlast on May 10, 2014 at 4:36 AM

Do we even have a peace treaty with Iraq?

We usually try to get one of those thingies after going to war, you know? Be nice to have so as to regularize our relationship with the place.

With that in place we can then know how to respond to such an invitation. And not one moment before.

You can have war.

You can have peace.

That stuff in-between is just killing people with no end to it.

ajacksonian on May 10, 2014 at 7:15 AM

I thought we can’t be the world’s policeman was the new talking point of the left.

Kissmygrits on May 10, 2014 at 9:24 AM

If I were president, I’d ask him to make a formal apology before we considered giving him the drones. Absent the apology, I’d want him to pay us what the drones cost.

not the actual cost of the drones, but the cost of using them for the duration as well as the cost of personnel, etc.

its not unreasonable to expect his country to compensate us. I’m not talking about making a profit here, just evening the scales.

If he formally apologizes then I could provide the above at no cost. But absent an apology he has to pay for them.

Make that a policy and dependent nations will keep a civil tongue.

Karmashock on May 10, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Is O Sunni or She-ite?

NoPain on May 10, 2014 at 12:44 PM