Report: U.S. Special Forces have been on Mount Sinjar for days

posted at 6:01 pm on August 13, 2014 by Allahpundit

Maybe “boots on the ground” only applies to the ground at sea level? I’m spitballing here.

A team of US marines and special forces landed on Mount Sinjar in Iraq on Wednesday to assess options for a potential rescue of of 30,000 Yazidi civilians threatened by Islamic extremists and worn down by hunger and thirst.

The forces flew in on V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft that can land vertically. They joined a small number of American special forces who, the Guardian has been told, had been on the mountain for some days. That team had been assessing the military and humanitarian situation and guiding US air strikes against Islamic State (Isis) fighters encircling the mountain…

Fleeing Yazidis have reported seeing small teams of American soldiers high on the northern flank. “We weren’t allowed to go near them,” said a man from Sinjar who was airlifted from the former base. “They were being guarded by the Kurds.”

Their mission: Find a way to get tens of thousands of weak, dehydrated, and dying people off a mountaintop (where the temperature’s well over 100 degrees, by the way) when there are well-armed barbarians waiting below. One option is to lead them down the mountain on foot and into Kurdistan by land, but that’s tricky. ISIS is down there, of course, and the road south to Kurdish territory would take them through territory held by the jihadis. Who’s going to do the fighting if U.S. “combat troops” aren’t available and there aren’t enough Peshmerga to shoulder the load? Another option is to forget the route into Kurdistan and go north instead — but that would take everyone into Syria, where U.S. troops would be reluctant to go for political reasons. Could the Peshmerga handle that alone or would they, as one U.S. official told the NYT, need Marine support?

Option two is to simply airlift everyone off the mountain. There are four Ospreys stationed nearby in Irbil plus some unknown number of U.S. and British helicopters. That’s complicated too, though. Someone would have to set up a security perimeter on the mountain for aircraft to land, and each aircraft would probably need a combat aircraft to accompany it in case it came under fire. The sheer volume of people needing rescue is another logistical challenge. An Osprey can carry 24 people; a typical Chinook can carry around 34, although apparently some models run bigger. Assuming everything broke right — a big, secure landing area, all aircraft loaded to capacity, and, say, 10 Chinooks participating in the mission — you’d need just shy of 70 trips to get 30,000 people down. Let’s hope there are still enough physically able Yazidis on the mountain to load the weak onto the aircraft too, or else you’ll need even more troops to help carry the infirm.

Total American troops inside Iraq at the moment, by the way: 1,000 and counting.

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……has Jane Fonda volunteered to negotiate with the ISIS directly?……….she has experience.
I wonder if the military, knowing that the hi-tech SAMS’s Obama lost in Benghazi are in the hands of the ISIS, are hesitant to directly engage close air support……..

sbark on August 14, 2014 at 9:03 AM

guiding US air strikes against Islamic State (Isis) fighters encircling the mountain…

That’s exactly what they are doing.

BigAlSouth on August 14, 2014 at 11:07 AM

This post has it wrong.

Looking at several maps, going south does not get you to Kurdistan. It takes one directly into ISIS controlled territory.

Going north and then northeast off Mount Sinjar takes one into Kurdistan and/or Kurdish controlled areas.

In making a decision on this let us not forget the history and the mistakes of both republicrats, demicans and democrats and the West, in general.

Iraq was a creation of the West after WWI. The West had put all kinds of thugs in charge including S Hussein. The first Iraq war was unnecessary. Bush I/Baker telling April Glaspie to tell Hussein “we have no opinion on your Arab-Arab Conflicts” is worth reviewing since 24 years have gone by and the endless war these mistakes have engendered including mass so-called humanitarian immigrations of people to the United States who do not share our views about our legal system were caused by both parties (remember Iraq was an ally in the 1980s war with Iran and we provided serious, serious aid):

Hussein had three problems with Kuwait:
• A border dispute dating back to Great Britain’s artificial drawing of the lines after World War I.

• Kuwait was allegedly slant drilling into Iraq’s oil fields and stealing its oil.

• Kuwait was violating its OPEC production agreements in order to drive down the price of oil and bankrupt Iraq.

This last point is interesting because it was essentially a strong-arm tactic Kuwait was using to win concessions from Iraq. Iraq was vulnerable to this tactic because it had borrowed money from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to wage war against Iran in the 1980s. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia had loaned this money because they too were afraid of the revolutionary regime in Iran. The U.S., Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, were all complicit in the war against Iran, and all of them hoped to benefit from it. But now Kuwait was using the loans it had made to Iraq as leverage to win profitable concessions from Hussein with regard to the border dispute and their slant drilling. And Kuwait was turning up the heat by also violating its production agreement. This reduced oil prices generally, and Iraq’s oil income in particular.

That summer, the State Department informed Hussein that his dispute with Kuwait was a local matter, and that the U.S. didn’t have a diplomatic duty to protect Kuwait if Iraq used military force. This is verified by State Department testimony—during 1990—before congressional committees. But the U.S. tale doesn’t end there.

Saddam Hussein told the United States Ambassador to Baghdad that he would not use force against Kuwait provided that the Emir of Kuwait—in a summit that was supposed to occur in July 1990—agreed to end his nation’s “economic warfare.”
The Ambassador, April Glaspie, told Hussein: “We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960’s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America.” She added, “We hope you can solve this problem using any suitable methods via Klibi or via President Mubarak. All that we hope is that these issues are solved quickly.” And Glaspie was confident that there was still time to solve the matter and so shortly thereafter went on vacation.

The Emir of Kuwait was a no-show for the summit. Why?

He had assurances from the Pentagon (directed by Dick Cheney) that it would defend Kuwait—even though there was no formal agreement compelling the U.S. to protect them, and even though the U.S. State Department had given Hussein assurances they wouldn’t get involved. Hussein, believing he had permission, attacked Kuwait.

Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait was not the start of a campaign to conquer the whole region, as the first Bush administration claimed to the American public. It was, instead, a local dispute, primarily over broken business agreements, that was escalated into a major crisis by Bush administration confusion, incompetence and lies about the true cause of the conflict. And it’s really not all that surprising. When you have a government as bloated in size as ours, snafu’s and miscommunication become the rule. Put another way, it’s impossible for the right hand to know what the left hand is doing, especially when there are dozens of left hands.

Syria is something of the same thing WRT stupid government policies. We went about the arming of Syrian revolutionaries using the Benghazi-Turkey back door without knowing who they were. And now we have chaos.

We need to do something to rescue these people because our stupid interventions of the past have led directly to what we now see unfolding in this part of the world.

Falcon46 on August 14, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Obama Bombed IRAQ! Obama put troops INTO IRAQ!

I just love saying that!

NYCMike on August 14, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Did Obama put a SOFA in place, or are these troops exposed to Iraqi prosecution?

corkie on August 14, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Obama Bombed IRAQ! Obama put troops INTO IRAQ! I just love saying that! –
NYCMike at 12:48 PM

It’s a quagmire! A war for (Kirkuk’s) oil!

Apparently, these are sage words when a Republican is prez but just irrelevant and hateful when a Dem is prez. Also, it’s racist if the prez is somewhat African-American.

Toocon on August 14, 2014 at 2:12 PM

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