The United States will send around 600 new troops to Iraq to assist local forces in the battle to retake Mosul from Islamic State that is expected later this year, U.S. and Iraqi officials said on Wednesday.
The new deployment is the third such boost in U.S. troop levels in Iraq since April, underscoring the difficulties President Barack Obama has had in extracting the U.S. military from the country.
The United States has gradually increased the number of U.S. troops in Iraq this year, and moved them closer to the front lines of battle. Obama approved sending 560 more troops to Iraq in July, three months after the United States said it would dispatch about 200 more troops there.
To send the new troops, the White House will raise its cap on U.S. forces in Iraq from 4,647, to 5,262 troops, a senior U.S. defense official said.
What Reuters didn’t report, is that various Iraqi state militias, known as Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs), are preparing for violent resistance against these U.S. troops, which they see as an occupying force.
Al Monitor reports:
BAGHDAD — Factions of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) are threatening to attack US troops that participate in the battle to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State (IS), but the Iraqi government hopes to smooth things over.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said his government will work on a consensus formula to convince PMU factions of the need to involve US troops in the battle to resolve the problem as soon as possible. He also hopes to persuade Washington that the PMU is a national force of the Iraqi state and should be part of a special military system to liberate Mosul.