Friday, May 19, 2017

US May Keep Some 20K Troops in Post-IS Iraq; Will Assure Iraqi Forces Ensure Security in Iraq

The former head of the Pentagon's policy shop said yesterday that the U.S. may need to keep as many as 20,000 troops and other military personnel in Iraq -- even after the Islamic State is driven out -- to stabilize the country, the Washington Times website reports today (May 19, 2017).

A postwar force of between 4,000 and 8,000 American troops "is probably sufficient" to help local security forces ensure security in Iraq as ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] faces defeat in its final stronghold in Mosul, Eric Edelman, the Pentagon's top policy official during the George W. Bush administration said.

The U.S. forces would likely be deployed as advisers -- not combat troops -- to support Iraq's police and military forces, he said.

"We are dealing with an ISIS that is severely, severely weakened" after nearly two years of constant war against U.S.-backed Iraq and Kurdish forces," said Edelman, who is now a senior fellow at a Washington, D.C. defense think tank.

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