Deal struck: 300 U.S. military advisers in Iraq will have legal protections

posted at 9:21 pm on June 25, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

And, thus this bizzare political and policy spectacle continues, as President Obama planned to re-send troops into Iraq, first without legal protections, subjecting these returning troops in a time of heightened danger and crisis to the same precarious legal situation he claimed was the reason for pulling troops out quickly in 2011 when he and the Maliki government couldn’t come to a Status of Forces Agreement. When that raised eyebrows, Obama of 2014 executed a mini version of the Status of Forces Agreement within days that he said was impossible to reach in 2011, when it might have prevented the current humanitarian and foreign policy disaster in Iraq. And, it seems this agreement was executed in the exact way critics of the Obama withdrawal in 2011 suggested it could have been achieved then.

U.S. officials announced on Monday that they had secured legal protections from Iraq’s government for 300 American special-operations forces being sent to Iraq to advise the Iraqi military.

Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, and Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, issued identical statements saying Iraq has committed to providing protections equivalent to the diplomatic immunity that the embassy staff currently holds.

Iraq, Mr. Earnest and Adm. Kirby said, has provided “acceptable assurances” through the exchange of diplomatic notes. Diplomatic notes are a formal means of correspondence between governments that can be used for international agreements.

Flashback to Josh Rogin’s Foreign Policy piece in 2011, “How the Obama Administration Bungled the Iraq Withdrawal Negoatiations:”

As recently as August, Maliki’s office was discussing allowing 8,000 to 20,000 U.S. troops to remain until next year, Iraqi Ambassador Samir Sumaida’ie said in an interview with The Cable. He told us that there was widespread support in Iraq for such an extension, but the Obama administration was demanding that immunity for U.S. troops be endorsed by the Iraqi Council of Representatives, which was never really possible.

Administration sources and Hill staffers also tell The Cable that the demand that the troop immunity go through the Council of Representatives was a decision made by the State Department lawyers and there were other options available to the administration, such as putting the remaining troops on the embassy’s diplomatic rolls, which would automatically give them immunity.

“An obvious fix for troop immunity is to put them all on the diplomatic list; that’s done by notification to the Iraqi foreign ministry,” said one former senior Hill staffer. “If State says that this requires a treaty or a specific agreement by the Iraqi parliament as opposed to a statement by the Iraqi foreign ministry, it has its head up its ass.”

The Obama administration is still arguing that this must go through parliament at some point, which makes it a bit more of a stickler about the Iraqi constitution system than ours, I suppose:

After announcing the deployment of military advisers last week, U.S. officials initially suggested the extra personnel would operate under diplomatic immunity. But on Friday, Adm. Kirby said a separate agreement would be necessary and that the U.S. and Iraqi governments were involved in negotiations.

Mr. Earnest and Adm. Kirby said the protections would be “adequate to the short-term assessment and advisory mission.”

U.S. officials have said if U.S. forces need to remain in Iraq for a longer period, a more formal agreement, approved by the country’s parliament, likely would be necessary to ensure troops have adequate legal protections.

Meanwhile, harsh words for the Obama doctrine in Iraq from unexpected precincts. As Peter Beinart puts it in the “Atlantic,” it’s “disastrous,” and “it’s time people who aren’t Republican operatives began saying so.” In Beinart’s assessment of the administration’s miscalculations, you’ll recognize archetypal Obama instincts: The desire to get out of Iraq to satisfy domestic political concerns, a view of the world as it should be instead of how it is, and a seemingly perfect faith in his own words to ensure complex actors in complex theaters act as he prefers, because after all, that is the only sensible course of action.

The decline of U.S. leverage in Iraq simply reinforced the attitude Obama had held since 2009: Let Maliki do whatever he wants so long as he keeps Iraq off the front page.

On December 12, 2011, just days before the final U.S. troops departed Iraq, Maliki visited the White House. According to Nasr, he told Obama that Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, an Iraqiya leader and the highest-ranking Sunni in his government, supported terrorism. Maliki, argues Nasr, was testing Obama, probing to see how the U.S. would react if he began cleansing his government of Sunnis. Obama replied that it was a domestic Iraqi affair. After the meeting, Nasr claims, Maliki told aides, “See! The Americans don’t care.”

In public remarks after the meeting, Obama praised Maliki for leading “Iraq’s most inclusive government yet.” Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister, Saleh al-Mutlaq, another Sunni, told CNN he was “shocked” by the president’s comments. “There will be a day,” he predicted, “whereby the Americans will realize that they were deceived by al-Maliki … and they will regret that.”

A week later, the Iraqi government issued a warrant for Hashimi’s arrest. Thirteen of his bodyguards were arrested and tortured. Hashimi fled the country and, while in exile, was sentenced to death.

“Over the next 18 months,” writes Pollack, “many Sunni leaders were arrested or driven from politics, including some of the most non-sectarian, non-violent, practical and technocratic.” Enraged by Maliki’s behavior, and emboldened by the prospect of a Sunni takeover in neighboring Syria, Iraqi Sunnis began reconnecting with their old jihadist allies. Yet, in public at least, the Obama administration still acted as if all was well.

Click through to read about another meeting between the two and Obama’s subsequent remarks. He didn’t say he looked the man in the eye and got a sense of his soul, but he might as well have.

It’s perfectly rational to hold the view that getting into Iraq was the wrong decision AND that getting out when and how we did was also the wrong decision, frittering away years of hard-fought gains that could likely have been preserved and given us an Iraq that would have been a better strategic partner than most everything else in the post-Arab Spring Middle East right now. I suspect that partly explains why Obama’s overall numbers on Iraq and foreign policy are so low right now despite the fact that most Americans agree with his instincts to stay out of the area, and why fewer people support withdrawal now than did in 2011 when the president was telling us everything was stable.


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Ratso?

Bakokitty on June 25, 2014 at 9:24 PM

Isn’t Iraq’s legal system nearly as disreputable as our own?

viking01 on June 25, 2014 at 9:28 PM

But, will they have protection from Hopey/Changey!!!!!

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 9:29 PM

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 9:29 PM

Yeah, we have Obama, so there is that….

KCB on June 25, 2014 at 9:32 PM

We’ll be back. In much bigger numbers. Mark my words. We will have to fight ISIS. Guaranteed.

Doc Holliday on June 25, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Wow, now that was difficult wasn’t it? Amazing what a little pressure can do.

major dad on June 25, 2014 at 9:36 PM

Doc Holliday on June 25, 2014 at 9:35 PM

At this rate, I’m not even sure who to fight with or against. The ME is a train wreck.

KCB on June 25, 2014 at 9:37 PM

Gee, what a surprise; the Iraqis agreed after a little jawboning.

I think we can rest assured the Choom Gang didn’t send Joe this time.

PS The real laugh is O never having a problem going around Congress, but he goes all wee-wee at the thought of Maliki doing it.

PPS We were right to go in.

formwiz on June 25, 2014 at 9:38 PM

https://twitter.com/jaketapper

Jake Tapper @jaketapper · 3h

Much intelligence collection “diminished significantly following US withdrawal in Iraq in 2011,” by @KenDilanianAP http://www.apnews.com/ap/db_268798/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=YLkjfFgY
======================================================

Spying drop-off in Iraq preceded fresh insurgency

The U.S. spent nearly $72 billion on intelligence gathering in 2013.

It was telling that President Barack Obama sent 300 special operations troops

“to help us gain more intelligence and more information about what ISIL is doing and how they’re doing it,”

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said – an implicit admission that American intelligence-gathering about ISIL has been insufficient.
(More…)
==========

https://twitter.com/PentagonPresSec

http://www.apnews.com/ap/db_268798/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=YLkjfFgY

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 9:38 PM

This is so insane. Muqtada al Sadr has already said his psychos will kill any American advisers.

Let these freaks fight it out. Let Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah help the Shi’ites. Every single fighter killed on both sides will be one less to threaten us.

The Sunni Gulf states can take care of themselves, and they’ve already cooperated with Israel multiple times. The Turks are now pals with the Kurds, so there’s no way ISIL is going to survive this little war.

Also, we ALREADY ADVISED the Iraqis, and they rejected our advice. When asked why they used fixed checkpoints instead of mobile ones, they said, “We’ve always done it this way.”

Their fixed checkpoints kept getting blown up, but they refused to do what we advised and adopt mobile checkpoints.

It sounds heartless, but we need to stay out of this and let all these sick, primitive, inflexible, incompetent bozos murder each other until either they’re all dead or they decide to stop murdering.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 25, 2014 at 9:39 PM

Ah, so we’re going to send 300 “advisors”, to be…kidnapping targets?

Also, a small number of advisors is exactly how the Vietnam war started.

Somehow, I’m thinking he should have just signed the SOFA and kept some troops there, instead of forcing America to surrender.

I guess having the vast majority of Iraq under control, and helping to maintain the government, wasn’t BAD enough for Obama. He had to tell everyone WHEN we were pulling out, then pull everyone out, even while ISIS was already staging to start capturing Iraqi cities.

And now that Iraq is melted down and ISIS is dug in, Obama looks to start another Vietnam.

Swell.

Meople on June 25, 2014 at 9:39 PM

ISIS: darn it. Now we can’t touch them.

BDavis on June 25, 2014 at 9:39 PM

These two prideful men clashed unnecessarily and millions will suffer because of it.

Perspicacious on June 25, 2014 at 9:40 PM

Jake Tapper @jaketapper · 3h

Much intelligence collection “diminished significantly following US withdrawal in Iraq in 2011,” by @KenDilanianAP http://www.apnews.com/ap/db_268798/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=YLkjfFgY
========================================================

Spying drop-off in Iraq preceded fresh insurgency

The U.S. spent nearly $72 billion on intelligence gathering in 2013.

It was telling that President Barack Obama sent 300 special operations troops

“to help us gain more intelligence and more information about what ISIL is doing and how they’re doing it,”

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said – an implicit admission that American intelligence-gathering about ISIL has been insufficient.
(More….)
============

http://www.apnews.com/ap/db_268798/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=YLkjfFgY

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 9:41 PM

0 blew this.

Bmore on June 25, 2014 at 9:41 PM

Not noted in this article is that CIA does not want to be thrown under the bus again–they have already let out the word that they have been warning the White House about this since January–and the White House ignored them.

Doc Holliday on June 25, 2014 at 9:42 PM

Should ISIS continue it march deeper into Iraq, murdering and forgiving along the way, it won’t be long before all of Iraq belongs to ISIS… I think once that happens, maybe, maybe the other muslim states might get involved. They do after all have somthing to protect.

Maybe Saudi Arabia will join the fight if Kuwait and Bahrain are threatened, until then, the main fight will stay in Iraq, until all have converted to the faith of the Jihadists and ISIS, or are dead.

Scrumpy on June 25, 2014 at 9:44 PM

https://twitter.com/PentagonPresSec

06/25/2014
DOD Announces Recruiting and Retention Numbers for Fiscal 2014, through May 2014
=======

MMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: NR-341-14
June 25, 2014
DOD Announces Recruiting and Retention Numbers for Fiscal 2014, through May 2014

The Department of Defense announced today recruiting and retention statistics for the active and reserve components for fiscal 2014, through May 2014.

• Active Component.

• Recruiting. All four active services met or exceeded their numerical accession goals for fiscal 2014, through May.

• Army – 36,612 accessions, with a goal of 36,150; 101.3 percent.
• Navy – 19,763 accessions, with a goal of 19,763; 100 percent.
• Marine Corps – 13,146 accessions, with a goal of 13,128; 100.1 percent.
• Air Force –17,049 accessions, with a goal of 17,049; 100 percent.

• Retention. All four services exhibited strong retention numbers for the eighth month of fiscal 2014.

• Reserve Component.

• Recruiting. Four of the six reserve components met or exceeded their fiscal-year-to-date 2014 numerical accession goals. All six reserve components also met or exceeded the DoD quality benchmarks.

• Army National Guard – 33,437 accessions, with a goal of 34,607; 96.6 percent.
• Army Reserve 18,026 accessions, with a goal of 19,155; 94.1 percent.
• Navy Reserve – 2,513 accessions, with a goal of 2,513; 100 percent.
• Marine Corps Reserve – 5,308 accessions, with a goal of 5,221; 101.7 percent.
• Air National Guard – 6,712 accessions, with a goal of 6,712; 100 percent.
• Air Force Reserve – 4,407 accessions, with a goal of 3,527; 125 percent.

• Attrition – All reserve components have met their attrition goals or were within the allowed variance. Current trends are expected to continue. (This indicator lags due to data availability.)

http://www.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=16798

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 9:44 PM

I hope they have an evac plan for those guys. There needs to be at least a re-enforced battalion of Rangers or Marines with them.

major dad on June 25, 2014 at 9:44 PM

We’ll be back. In much bigger numbers. Mark my words. We will have to fight ISIS. Guaranteed.

Doc Holliday on June 25, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Yep, I agree.

A similar point was made two weeks ago by AUINSC:

This only means we’re going to have to fight them again some day…from a position of greatly diminished strength.

AUINSC on June 11, 2014 at 9:50 PM

ShainS on June 25, 2014 at 9:44 PM

0 blew this.

Bmore on June 25, 2014 at 9:41 PM

Really? Define “Blew”…

oscarwilde on June 25, 2014 at 9:45 PM

06/25/2014
National Guard (In Federal Status) and Reserve Activated as of June 24, 2014
======

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: NR-340-14
June 25, 2014
National Guard (In Federal Status) and Reserve Activated as of June 24, 2014

The Army National Guard, Army Reserve and Navy Reserve announced this week a decrease in activated National Guard and reserve members, while the Marine Corps Reserve, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve announced an increase of activated National Guard and reserve members. The Coast Guard Reserve announced no change in the number of activated National Guard and reserve members. The net collective result is 181 fewer activated National Guard members and reservists in comparison to last week.

At any given time, services may activate some units and individuals while deactivating others, making it possible for these figures to either increase or decrease. The total number currently on active duty from the Army National Guard and Army Reserve is 25,926; Navy Reserve, 3,456; Marine Corps Reserve, 1,324; Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, 6,693; and the Coast Guard Reserve, 369. This brings the total National Guard and reserve personnel who have been activated to 37,768, including both units and individual augmentees.

http://www.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=16797

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Nothing like worrying about your miserable life to change your mind, eh Maliki?

rbj on June 25, 2014 at 9:47 PM

I hope they have an evac plan for those guys. There needs to be at least a re-enforced battalion of Rangers or Marines with them.

major dad on June 25, 2014 at 9:44 PM

I’m sure Talibama is teeing up the same evac plan he used in Benghazi, since it worked out so well. (for Al Qaeda that is)

Meople on June 25, 2014 at 9:47 PM

This brings the total National Guard and reserve personnel who have been activated to 37,768, including both units and individual augmentees.

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Put them all on the border, here.

Scrumpy on June 25, 2014 at 9:48 PM

http://www.defense.gov/

U.S. Advisors in Iraq to Assess Insurgency
U.S. soldiers provide security in front of an Iraqi police station in Baghdad, Iraq, March 13, 2009.

U.S. Army file photo by Sgt. Kani Ronningen

The first U.S. service members ordered to Iraq to help the Iraqi military counter a terrorist threat have arrived in the country, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said, June 24, 2014. About 90 troops have arrived in Baghdad, where they will join some 40 others attached to the U.S. Embassy to establish assessment teams and a joint operations center with Iraqi forces.
========================

U.S. Advisors Arrive in Iraq to Begin Assessment

By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2014 – The first U.S. service members ordered to Iraq to help the Iraqi military counter a terrorist threat have arrived in the country, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today.

About 90 troops have arrived in Baghdad, where they will join some 40 others attached to the U.S. Embassy to establish assessment teams and a joint operations center with Iraqi forces.

They are the first of what could be up to 300 U.S. military advisors President Barack Obama has ordered to the country to assess an insurgency led by a Syrian-based extremist group that has routed the Iraqi military and taken over much of the country’s north and west while continuing to move closer to Baghdad, threatening to push Iraq to the brink of full-blown sectarian war. The group is known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, and also as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

Kirby told reporters four additional teams totaling about 50 people will arrive in Iraq in the coming days. U.S. special operators will assess the cohesiveness of Iraqi security forces and the threat posed by advancing ISIL insurgents, and then will provide recommendations on how to best help the Iraqi military.

“We expect that they’ll start to flow their assessments up through the chain of command in about two to three weeks,” the admiral said.

U.S. military aircraft already are flying up to three dozen surveillance missions over Iraq every day and, Kirby said, are “sharing what we can with the Iraqi security forces.”

At his regular Pentagon briefing, Kirby said the United States does not yet have a full picture of the situation on the ground, but that ISIL fighters continue to solidify their gains as they advance and have no trouble crossing the Iraq-Syria border at will.

“They continue to press into central and southern Iraq, … and they are still a legitimate threat to Baghdad,” he added.

The U.S. troops arrived in Iraq a day after defense officials said the Baghdad government had provided “acceptable assurances” that the Americans would receive the necessary legal protections to operate in the country, the same level of immunity Kirby said, that diplomats and U.S. forces based at the U.S. Embassy already receive.

While the United States and Iraq do not have a status of forces agreement in place to provide U.S. troops in the country with blanket immunity, Kirby said, Iraq has committed to protections that are “adequate to the short-term assessment and advisory mission our troops will be performing.”

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=122542

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 9:48 PM

Really? Define “Blew”…

oscarwilde on June 25, 2014 at 9:45 PM

Bmore on June 25, 2014 at 9:48 PM

Put them all on the border, here.

Scrumpy on June 25, 2014 at 9:48 PM

Amen to THAT! Can we also get a couple battalions of heavy tanks to point in the cartel’s general direction?

Meople on June 25, 2014 at 9:50 PM

On December 12, 2011, just days before the final U.S. troops departed Iraq, Maliki visited the White House. According to Nasr, he told Obama that Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, an Iraqiya leader and the highest-ranking Sunni in his government, supported terrorism. Maliki, argues Nasr, was testing Obama, probing to see how the U.S. would react if he began cleansing his government of Sunnis. Obama replied that it was a domestic Iraqi affair. After the meeting, Nasr claims, Maliki told aides, “See! The Americans don’t care.”

In public remarks after the meeting, Obama praised Maliki for leading “Iraq’s most inclusive government yet.” Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister, Saleh al-Mutlaq, another Sunni, told CNN he was “shocked” by the president’s comments. “There will be a day,” he predicted, “whereby the Americans will realize that they were deceived by al-Maliki … and they will regret that.”

Peter Beinart @theatlantic.com on June 23 2014, 12:48 PM ET

.
Looks like Saleh al-Mutlaq gets it.

listens2glenn on June 25, 2014 at 9:50 PM

Isn’t Iraq’s legal system nearly as disreputable as our own?

viking01 on June 25, 2014 at 9:28 PM

Is that even possible outside of a completely totalitarian state?

HiJack on June 25, 2014 at 9:50 PM

The only law that exists over there isn’t a piece of paper.

It’s ridiculous. Make wn agreement with a quasi gubmint on the brink of collapse?

Why bother?

wolly4321 on June 25, 2014 at 9:51 PM

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 9:48 PM

Thus begins Vietnam 2.0 (Obama’s Summer Vacation).

P.S. I would have just said Good Morning Vietnam, but figure that’s probably already been done.

Meople on June 25, 2014 at 9:52 PM

Otay,…this mother is about five feet long,..heres a snippett:

News Transcript

Department of Defense Press Briefing by Rear Adm. Kirby in the Pentagon Briefing Room
Presenter: Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby
June 24, 2014

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY: Afternoon, everybody.

Q: Hello.

REAR ADM. KIRBY: Just a couple — hello, Nancy. Just a — you made me lose my composure already. Just a couple quick announcements, first on Iraq. In keeping with the direction of the commander-in-chief, I can announce today that we have begun to deploy initial assessment teams, two special operations teams with approximately 40 personnel previously assigned to the embassy through the Office of Security Cooperation have started their new mission.

In addition, approximately 90 additional troops assigned to help stand up the Baghdad joint operations center have arrived on station in Baghdad. Within the next few days, these troops will be joined by four additional teams of approximately 50 people total who will deploy to Iraq from within the Central Command region. These teams will assess the cohesiveness and readiness of Iraqi security forces, higher headquarters in Baghdad, and examine the most effective and efficient way to introduce follow-on advisers.

The teams will begin their assessments immediately and provide their findings through the chain of command within the next two to three weeks. Now, we continue to fly routine and regular ISR missions over Iraq to the tune of about 30 to 35 flights per day to help us gain better insight about the security situation on the ground. This continued effort will no doubt aid our assessment teams as they begin their important work.

Second, as you may have seen, Secretary Hagel was pleased today to be able to announce that the president has nominated Admiral Bill Gortney to be the next commander of Northern Command and NORAD, that Army General John Campbell has been nominated to succeed General Dunford as the ISAF commander in Kabul, and that Army Lieutenant General Joseph Votel, currently commander of Joint Special Operations Command, has been nominated for a fourth star and to serve as the next commander of U.S. Special Operations Command.

As the secretary noted, all three officers are highly qualified for these positions, having proven their leadership through exemplary and dedicated service to the country. If confirmed, these officers will continue that service at the highest levels of our military, and the secretary looks forward to benefiting from their experience and their leadership.

Now, while I’m on the topic of senior leaders in the department, I wanted to also let you know that Secretary Hagel will on Thursday meet with all of his combatant commanders, service secretaries, and service chiefs for a previously scheduled senior leadership council meeting. High on the agenda will, of course, be current events around the world, but they are also expected to discuss our global force posture going forward, budget issues, innovation concepts, and better business practices.

As always, the secretary appreciates these opportunities to hear from a senior leadership team and to discuss with them the issues that most affect and are affected by the pace of military engagement around the world.

Finally, the secretary will be meeting this afternoon with his Norwegian counterpart. They are expected to discuss events in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Rim of the Pacific exercise, in which a Norwegian frigate will participate, and Norway’s critical assistance in helping remove chemical stockpiles from Syria. I’ll issue a short readout after that meeting, which will be late this afternoon, probably about 6 o’clock.

Q: John (OFF-MIC) the advisers teams.

REAR ADM. KIRBY: Sure. So two special operations teams of 40 personnel — these were folks that were previously assigned to the Office of Security Cooperation and, therefore, already working out of the embassy will now have started today to begin work as assessment teams. So that’s…

Q: Forty total?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: Forty total, two teams. Then in addition to that, Central Command has flowed in an additional 90 personnel who will be working in Baghdad to set up the Baghdad Joint Operations Center. And within the next few days, those troops will be joined by an additional four teams totaling approximately 50 people, so four teams but 50 people, and they’ll come to — they’ll come to Iraq from elsewhere within the Central Command region. They will be that — they will be compromising another four assessment teams.

And as we’ve talked about before, I mean, there are sort of phases here. The first phase is assessment, standing up the joint operations center is a key part of that. And then one of the things the assessment teams will do is help us figure out the proper flow, efficient flow of follow-on adviser teams, how many, where should they be, that kind of thing. We’re still in phase on right now.

Q: So are those — those 90, those aren’t special operations types? Those are technicians who are setting up the joint operations…

REAR ADM. KIRBY: They’re not all special operations personnel, no. Some are, but not all.

Q: (OFF-MIC) technicians in there (OFF-MIC)

REAR ADM. KIRBY: I think there’s — you know, as you would expect in any joint operations center, you need a mix of people. You need intelligence analysts. You need logistic experts. You need some IT support. You need some basic, you know, line personnel. And, of course, there are some — you know, there are some special operators, as well. It’s a mix, and it’s a joint — I want to say also that all of these troops that we’re talking about represent all the services. It’s a joint mission. Everybody — everybody is pitching in here.

(CROSSTALK)

REAR ADM. KIRBY: Go ahead.

Q: (OFF-MIC) so you got two teams, 40 people, and then the follow-on teams, you got four, approximately 50. That’s four approximately 50 is the normal size of a 12-man…

REAR ADM. KIRBY: Yeah. That’s right.

Q: So why — why are these two first teams (OFF-MIC)

REAR ADM. KIRBY: I would refer you to Central Command for how they decided to stand up these first two teams, so I don’t want to — I don’t want to speculate. But they believe that two teams of 40, so 20 people per team roughly is about the right size for this initial — these initial two teams, these first two teams. But, again, I’d point you to Central Command for exactly how they decided to staff it.

(CROSSTALK)

Q: … and this focus is on the JOC in Baghdad and they’ll determine later whether to set one up in the north? Is that right?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: Well, the — there’s already a tasking to set up a northern joint operations center, but there’s a lot more details that still have to come on that. So right now, these 90 that I talked about will be going to Baghdad to work on the Baghdad joint operations center, and then we’ll make decisions, follow-on decisions about the second joint operations center in northern Iraq at a later date.

Q: Are they already in country?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: As I said, you have the two teams of 40, the additional 90 personnel that are going to help stand up the joint operations center, they are all in Baghdad right now. So 130 are in Baghdad. Some of them were already there, right, the 40. The only — the only new number for presence in Iraq right now is the 90 that I talked about.

Q: (OFF-MIC) four phases. What are the final (OFF-MIC)

REAR ADM. KIRBY: I didn’t say four phases. I said it’s a multi-phase effort. Right now, we’re sort of in the assessment phase, and — and standing up the joint operations center is a key part of that. Eventually we’ll move to, you know, a more active advise and assist phase, but, again, we just got to get — we got to get these folks and these teams stood up, get a sense of what the situation on the ground is, and then we can make some follow-on decisions from there.

http://www.defense.gov/Transcripts/Transcript.aspx?TranscriptID=5454

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 9:52 PM

I hope they have an evac plan for those guys. There needs to be at least a re-enforced battalion of Rangers or Marines with them.

major dad on June 25, 2014 at 9:44 PM

From what I read, they are going to be embedded with different Iraqi troops (10 – 12 US special advisors per battalion or whatever you want to call them there). That does not bode well for mass extraction if things get messy.

If it was 300 special Ops banded together, I could see them having a lot better odds. Dispersed, it’s gonna be a nightmare.

can_con on June 25, 2014 at 9:53 PM

300 troops going to Iraq is a squirrel for Obama giving Iraq to Al Qadea.

Not to mention the WMD, bases, F16s, tanks, missiles, and $$$ millions.

faraway on June 25, 2014 at 9:54 PM

It’s perfectly rational to hold the view that getting into Iraq was the wrong decision AND that getting out when and how we did was also the wrong decision…

And the tiny number of troops and the “advisor” designation allows him to, in his thinking, have it both ways being the right decision.

He is a slimy little man.

anuts on June 25, 2014 at 9:54 PM

We’ll be back. In much bigger numbers. Mark my words. We will have to fight ISIS. Guaranteed.

Doc Holliday on June 25, 2014 at 9:35 PM

I don’t think so.

ISIL is itching to fight Israel. Remember when ISIL claimed to have captured Black Hawk helicopters at Mosul? It was a lie. We never sold Black Hawks to Iraq.

The western press is madly in love with ISIL because of their “prowess,” but in reality they absolutely suck at fighting. The Iraqis are simply running, and in Syria ISIL has been unable to defeat the utterly chaotic clowns of the Syrian insurgency.

If ISIL attacks Israel, that’ll be the end. Israel once defeated the armed forces of eight nations SIMULTANEOUSLY, and that was before the virtually superhuman success of Operation Cast Lead.

Read about that someday. It was without question the most brilliant military operation in human history. The Israelis killed about 900 Hamas fighters for a loss of FIVE killed by enemy fire.

ISIL against the IDF will be a spectacular slaughter, the likes we haven’t seen since the nineteenth century, when the Europeans put down spear-carrying tribesmen with machine guns all over Africa and the Middle East.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 25, 2014 at 9:57 PM

http://www.defense.gov/Transcripts/Transcript.aspx?TranscriptID=5454

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 9:52 PM

.
Couldn’t help noticing the seven “(OFF-MIC)s” in that lengthy transcript.

listens2glenn on June 25, 2014 at 9:58 PM

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 9:48 PM

Thus begins Vietnam 2.0 (Obama’s Summer Vacation).

P.S. I would have just said Good Morning Vietnam, but figure that’s probably already been done.

Meople on June 25, 2014 at 9:52 PM

Meople: So true, Obama needs to be taken out of Military decisions,
he has zero experience, hes getting Americans killed.

Obama needs to be protected from himself,..in Military matters,
I know,..smacks of Coup type talk:)

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 9:59 PM

ISIL against the IDF will be a spectacular slaughter, the likes we haven’t seen since the nineteenth century, when the Europeans put down spear-carrying tribesmen with machine guns all over Africa and the Middle East.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 25, 2014 at 9:57 PM

Not to argue but there was that little kerfuffle at Isandlwhana when the spear-carriers had quite the day.

Bishop on June 25, 2014 at 9:59 PM

Terrific we lost,..er American GOP lost,….boink:

12m
Photo: Democrats win annual Congressional Baseball Game 15-6 after game was called in the 7th inning due to weather in Washington, DC – @frankthorpNBC

http://instagram.com/p/psGz3PEzkE/

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Isn’t Iraq’s legal system nearly as disreputable as our own?

viking01 on June 25, 2014 at 9:28 PM

Is that even possible outside of a completely totalitarian state?

HiJack on June 25, 2014 at 9:50 PM

I’m not sure. Let’s ask James Rosen’s parents how they liked being wiretapped?

viking01 on June 25, 2014 at 10:04 PM

So Maliki is gonna give those 300 guys immunity from ISSIS?? Kewl…I’ll bet that brings them a certain level of comfort. Nothing to lose your head over, I suppose…

bimmcorp on June 25, 2014 at 10:05 PM

If ISIL attacks Israel, that’ll be the end. Israel once defeated the armed forces of eight nations SIMULTANEOUSLY, and that was before the virtually superhuman success of Operation Cast Lead.

Read about that someday. It was without question the most brilliant military operation in human history. The Israelis killed about 900 Hamas fighters for a loss of FIVE killed by enemy fire.

ISIL against the IDF will be a spectacular slaughter, the likes we haven’t seen since the nineteenth century, when the Europeans put down spear-carrying tribesmen with machine guns all over Africa and the Middle East.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 25, 2014 at 9:57 PM

A Chair of Some Kind:

Really, the IDF will flatten the ISIS/ISIL/AQ!

Israel is already fed up with Hopey The Bringer of Islamic Light!

If there were hoards of ISISIslamicJihadyNutJobs,ready to over-run
Israel, they will use tactical nukes!!

Last resort,…..”Samson Option”,….Good Bye Middles East!!

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 10:06 PM

0 blew this.

Bmore on June 25, 2014 at 9:41 PM

Its not the first… thing… O has blown.

Dolce Far Niente on June 25, 2014 at 10:08 PM

So,…..”Cough-Cough”….. will there be Spectre AC-130′s and Warhogs at the ready,

or is this going to be Hopey’s Black-Hawk Down,
like Bill Clinton did, in denying Air-Support and
Armour!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 10:09 PM

Oh for the love of pete,..make it stop:

https://twitter.com/AP

The Associated Press @AP · 1m

Scientists ask President Barack Obama for a policy to preserve what remains of America’s old-growth forest: http://apne.ws/1nI0weL

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 10:10 PM

Not to argue but there was that little kerfuffle at Isandlwhana when the spear-carriers had quite the day.

Bishop on June 25, 2014 at 9:59 PM

Yeah, but that was 20,000 Zulus against 1800 Brits who were trained to fight in skirmish lines, firing volleys.

The small-unit tactics invented in World War One, as well as the unbelievable firepower and armored protection of the IDF will allow them to do to Sunni superstars what they did to Shi’ites in 2006.

Notice that Hezbollah never talks about another head-to-head encounter with the IDF. Shooting 700 Kornet antitank missiles but knocking out only FOUR tanks will do that to a terrorist’s confidence.

The fact that it’ll be Jews handing them their rear ends on a platter will make it all the more humiliating.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 25, 2014 at 10:13 PM

PFfft. Why would an ‘advisor’ need immunity anyway? Immune from the effects of bad advice?

Diluculo on June 25, 2014 at 10:13 PM

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Put them all on the border, here.

Scrumpy on June 25, 2014 at 9:48 PM

Scrumpy: Common sense,..yup!:)

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 10:14 PM

PFfft. Why would an ‘advisor’ need immunity anyway? Immune from the effects of bad advice?

Diluculo on June 25, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Diluculo: Maybes its the Lawyer Brigade!(sarc):)

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 10:15 PM

If there were hoards of ISISIslamicJihadyNutJobs,ready to over-run
Israel, they will use tactical nukes!!

Last resort,…..”Samson Option”,….Good Bye Middles East!!

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 10:06 PM

Won’t be necessary.

The original plan for the 2006 war in Lebanon called for an amphibious landing north of Hezbollah, cutting them off, and then killing them in a southward assault.

Nobody knew that the IDF has amphibious-landing capabilities.

Jane’s Defense Weekly estimates that we know of only 75 percent of Israel’s capabilities. If we apply Rumsfeld’s dictum of known unknowns and unknown unknowns, I’m betting we actually know less than half.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 25, 2014 at 10:17 PM

So,…..”Cough-Cough”….. will there be Spectre AC-130′s and Warhogs at the ready,

or is this going to be Hopey’s Black-Hawk Down,
like Bill Clinton did, in denying Air-Support and
Armour!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 10:09 PM

Same plan as Benghazi. They have a video already queued up and Talibama has his nappy-time floor mat at the ready.

P.S. And by nappy I mean sleepy-time.

Meople on June 25, 2014 at 10:18 PM

300 hundred advisers scattered chok-a-blok across Iraq; not enough to make a difference, just enough to get killed to the last man.

Bishop on June 25, 2014 at 10:20 PM

A Chair of Some Kind on June 25, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Like I said, not arguing, just pointing out the handful of times that superior firepower failed.

I just like talking mil history, it’s a nice break from politics.

Bishop on June 25, 2014 at 10:22 PM

300 hundred advisers scattered chok-a-blok across Iraq; not enough to make a difference, just enough to get killed to the last man.

Bishop on June 25, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Yup, sounds about right, unbelievably. At some point, after it’s too late, those 15,000 fast reaction troops currently in Kuwait are going to be put into action.

can_con on June 25, 2014 at 10:23 PM

Shouldn’t Obama have obtained protection from ISIS rather than Maliki?

bw222 on June 25, 2014 at 10:35 PM

300 hundred advisers scattered chok-a-blok across Iraq; not enough to make a difference, just enough to get killed to the last man.

Bishop on June 25, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Yup, sounds about right, unbelievably. At some point, after it’s too late, those 15,000 fast reaction troops currently in Kuwait are going to be put into action.

can_con on June 25, 2014

Exactly. I’ve been saying Obama sending them in is like the preacher telling Sheriff Bart, “Son? You’re on your own.

There is NO ONE to protect them and no WAY to get them out when they get split up like that. Oh, my GOD, if that was my kid, I’d be beside myself. Worthless SOB that he is, even Gen Amos is saying the Taliban is taking their best, last shots at the troops leaving Afghanistan because there are too few to protect each other.

How about 300? It ain’t Sparta.

tree hugging sister on June 25, 2014 at 10:37 PM

Oh for the love of pete,..make it stop:

https://twitter.com/AP

The Associated Press @AP · 1m

Scientists ask President Barack Obama for a policy to preserve what remains of America’s old-growth forest: http://apne.ws/1nI0weL

canopfor on June 25, 2014 at 10:10 PM

Let’s raise the CO2 levels to make them grow more better!!

slickwillie2001 on June 25, 2014 at 10:58 PM

“Legal immunity” means nothing in a war-zone.

What bed-wetting pansies these Obama pajama-boys are!

virgo on June 26, 2014 at 12:39 AM

“Legal immunity” means nothing in a war-zone.

What bed-wetting pansies these Obama pajama-boys are!

virgo on June 26, 2014 at 12:39 AM

Nonsense.

Bush negotiated legal immunity in the first SOFA – after Maliki publicly said he wouldn’t consider it. And while Obama blames that for his failure to get a second SOFA, he didn’t even try. And Maliki agreeing so quickly here shows how easy it would have been.

It is critical so that domestic Iraqi courts could not bring charges against US soldiers in the field in their country. Even Bush would not have left our troops in Iraq if that had been refused.

Adjoran on June 26, 2014 at 2:30 AM