These troops are being sent to protect the American embassy and the airport in Baghdad, and allow a contingent of troops already there to exit safely. They will “not serve in a combat role,” according to the White House.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday authorized a request for an additional 350 troops to be sent to Iraq to protect American diplomatic facilities and personnel in Baghdad, according to a statement released by the White House. “The request he approved today will allow some previously deployed military personnel to depart Iraq, while at the same time providing a more robust, sustainable security force for our personnel and facilities in Baghdad,” the statement said.
Today, the President authorized the Department of Defense to fulfill a Department of State request for approximately 350 additional U.S. military personnel to protect our diplomatic facilities and personnel in Baghdad, Iraq. This action was taken at the recommendation of the Department of Defense after an extensive interagency review, and is part of the President’s commitment to protect our personnel and facilities in Iraq as we continue to support the Government of Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). These additional forces will not serve in a combat role.
The President has made clear his commitment to doing whatever is required to provide the necessary security for U.S. personnel and facilities around the world. The request he approved today will allow some previously deployed military personnel to depart Iraq, while at the same time providing a more robust, sustainable security force for our personnel and facilities in Baghdad.
In addition to our efforts to protect our personnel, we will continue to support the Government of Iraq’s efforts to counter ISIL, which poses a threat not only to Iraq, but to the broader Middle East and U.S. personnel and interests in the region. The President will be consulting this week with NATO allies regarding additional actions to take against ISIL and to develop a broad-based international coalition to implement a comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners in the fight against ISIL. As part of this effort, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Hagel, and President Obama’s counterterrorism advisor, Lisa Monaco, will be traveling separately to the region in the near-term to build a stronger regional partnership.
According to some State Dept. and foreign affairs reporters on Twitter, this is the original request, reported August 20:
The U.S. State Department has asked for 300 additional American military personnel to beef up security at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and at U.S. facilities at the Baghdad airport, a senior U.S. official told NBC News on Wednesday.
The request was described as under consideration by the Pentagon. The official could not identify or discuss any additional threat to those facilities or to American personnel in Iraq. The U.S. military has 849 personnel in Iraq.
The early planning suggests that about 150 of the personnel would be Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is aboard the USS Bataan in the Persian Gulf, a U.S. military official said.
A platoon of about 50 Marines is in Baghdad already, providing security, and would return to its base in Bahrain, resulting in a net increase of about 100 Marines in Baghdad initially.
At this rate, Democrats aren’t going to stop fretting anytime soon.