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Military Connection: Iraq Reclaims 25% of Land with Help

Iraq mapBy Debbie Gregory.

After the rapid and massive gains made by the Islamic State in 2014, Iraqi forces have managed to retake approximately 25% of the territory from the terrorist group.

American airstrikes against Islamic State units and strongholds effectively weakened the terrorist insurgents’ positions, to the point where ground forces were able to gain back an area that represents 5,000 to 6,500 square miles in northern and central Iraq.

But despite these gains, Iraq’s Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, contends that his country requires even more international assistance in its fight against the Islamic State.

Since the U.S. began training Iraq’s military to take over the fight against the Islamic State, approximately 6,000 Iraqi soldier have completed the training. Officials at the Pentagon estimate that 20,000 to 25,000 soldiers will be needed to retake Mosul.

Until then, the ground forces that support the Iraqi government are made up of Shiite and Kurdish militias. Although not as thoroughly trained, these militias are armed, determined, and prepared to fight against the Islamic State. Many of the Shiite militias are backed by the Iranian government, who supply them with funding and weapons.

The intervention of Iran in the efforts against the Islamic State are a double edged sword. The militias, as well as the artillery and other support offered by the Iranian government, is proving effective. But U.S. officials aren’t so keen on the idea that the Iranians might be pushing the Islamic State away so that they can slide in with their influence, which have historically been anti-American.

The Iranians have been supplying their assistance to the Iraqi government, and have yet to ask for anything in return. So both the Iraqi government and the U.S. government are stuck choosing between the possibility of allowing a snake in their yard or looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Recent talks with Iraqi leaders and U.S. officials called for the removal of all “Shiite militias” to withdraw from the front lines in Sunni-populated Ramadi. The U.S. said that they would not increase airstrikes against the Islamic State until the Shiite militias were gone, citing that they caused unrest among the Sunni locals. This is a true and valid point. But the way that the terms were relayed implied that the U.S. specifically wanted the Iranian-backed militias withdrawn.

The terms that the U.S. ambassador presented to Iraqi leaders, and agreed upon, called for the Shiite militias to withdraw, or for the individual fighters to come under the command of the Iraqi military.

The U.S. has been extremely concerned with ridding Iraq of the Islamic State, but is not willing to do so at the cost of opening the door for Iran to take over Islamic State holdings.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Iraq Reclaims 25% of Land with Help: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: U.S. Urges Shiite Militias to Move From Ramadi

Shiite Militias

By Debbie Gregory.

Upon the recommendation of U.S. officials, Iraqi leaders have chosen to withdraw Shiite militias from the Ramadi area of the Anbar Province. The U.S.-led coalition has since stepped up bombing raids and other actions to support the remaining Iraqi forces battling against the Islamic State in that region.

After the Islamic State captured Mosul in June of 2014, tens of thousands of Iraq’s regular soldiers deserted. Out of necessity, Iraq became reliant on local militias to supplement their country’s diminished defense force. Iraqi militias, also called the popular mobilization, are merely armed groups of men who volunteer to fight in support of Iraq’s government, which is Shiite, as opposed to for the insurgent groups, which are mostly Sunni. Many of the militias are comprised of Shiite Muslims, and they are usually well organized and disciplined, albeit often under trained as soldiers. But what these militiamen lack in training, they make up for in courage and their willingness to fight.

As much as the militias have been needed for Iraq’s defenses, their presence in some areas has caused a dilemma for Iraq’s efforts against the Islamic State. It would be a gross understatement to say that Shiites and Sunnis don’t get along. Putting Shiite militias in a mostly Sunni occupied region to fight against the Sunni-led Islamic State forces could cause more locals to side with the Islamic State and aid their cause.

Leaders within the Anbar province claim to have received promises from Iraq’s federal government that Shiite militias would not be involved as whole units in operations near Ramadi, only individual fighters serving under the command of Iraq’s military. But there were reports as recent as last week claiming that multiple Shiite militias were actively involved in combat in the Al Sajariya Ramadi area.

With nearly all Iraqi government, military and militia leaders requesting U.S. and coalition forces conduct more air strikes against the Islamic State, U.S. Ambassador Stuart E. Jones leveraged the air strike increase against the withdrawal of Shiite militias from the area. During an April 12th meeting, Jones warned that unless the Shiite militias were withdrawn, the air strikes would not happen.

With the compliance of the Shiite militias, for the greater cause that they have been fighting for, the U.S. and other countries have stepped up air strikes against the Islamic State near Ramadi.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: U.S. Urges Shiite Militias to Move From Ramadi: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: ISIS Shifting Its Resources Into Syria

US jet

By Debbie Gregory.

The Pentagon has confirmed that the Islamic State in Iraq is moving some of its resources to Syria in order to reinforce its holdings. Airstrikes against the terrorist group, also commonly referred to as ISIS or ISIL, are having the desired effect.

Coalition ground forces consisting of Iraq’s military and Shiite and Kurdish militias­ are being backed by airstrikes, as well as military advisors from the U.S., the UK, and a collection of other Western, Middle-Eastern, and African nations. The airstrikes are taking a heavy toll on Islamic State assets, clearing the way for the ground forces to push ahead.

In Syria, the U.S. and Canada are joined by several Middle-Eastern nations to provide airstrikes and military advisors to the Syrian Opposition and Syrian Kurdistan, as they join forces with the Syrian government to fight against the Islamic State. Much like the gains being made in Iraq, the Syrian forces are starting to have an impact against the Islamic State. The terrorist group is pulling back some of its weapons and fighters from Iraq in order to try reinforce the holdings in Syria that are no longer secure.

There have been more than 3,200 airstrikes conducted in both Iraq and Syria. According to the Pentagon’s Chief of Staff of the military task force against the Islamic State, Marine Corps Brigadier General Thomas Weidley, the combined airstrikes and ground operations are forcing the Islamic State to relocate its resources to the Syrian theater.

Officials at the Pentagon have said that the campaign against the Islamic State is unfolding as expected. They knew it would be a long, difficult, but necessary undertaking.  And while the Islamic State has not fully withdrawn into Syria, the coalition airstrikes are having an impact.

The U.S.-led coalition is nearing the completion of phase one of the campaign against the Islamic State, as stated by President Obama, to “degrade, dismantle and ultimately defeat” the terrorist group. Both the Islamic State’s forces and its territory has been degraded by coalition efforts.

Iraqi Security Forces have regained over 25 percent of territory from the Islamic State in Iraq. Once the coalition dismantles and defeats the Islamic State in Iraq, the focus can shift to Syria.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: ISIS Shifting Its Resources Into Syria: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: More Troops to Iraq: By Debbie Gregory

The Last U.S. Troop Brigade In Iraq Departs Country After Over Eight Years Of WarThe number of U.S. military personnel in Iraq is set to double, as 1,500 more Americans are being deployed to train Iraq’s forces to combat the Islam State that has seized much of Iraq and Syria.

President Obama has a three-purposed plan to destroy the Islamic State, while keeping Americans from fighting another war, and preventing another insurgent group from surfacing. This plan requires the U.S. military to effectively train the Iraqi forces to liberate and maintain the sovereignty of their own country, without fighting their battles for them.

Along with the additional personnel, the president is requesting an additional $5.6 billion from Congress to augment the Pentagon’s Overseas Contingency Operations account. Around $3.4 billion of that would go to pay for the cost of operations against the Islamic State, and approximately $1.6 billion would directly support the mission of training and equipping Iraq’s security forces.

The additional personnel are expected to be sent in two waves. The first wave will be used to support and expand the mission to advise and assist Iraq’s security force. The second wave will be used to start training Iraqi soldiers at locations around the country.

The bulk of the additional 1,500 personnel being sent to Iraq will come from the Army.

On November 13, 2014, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Martin Dempsey, told Congress that he believes Iraq will need around 80,000 well trained, competent fighters to retake and hold the lands currently controlled by the Islamic State. Dempsey recommended that the addition of more American advisors should include training centers to facilitate the training of Iraq’s security force.

It is the hope of President Obama, as well as U.S. military leaders, that once training facilities and programs are in place in Iraq, other coalition members will take over some of the training duties. This would allow the U.S. to decrease its force size in Iraq, even if the war against the Islamic State is still in progress.

Already, Denmark has agreed to send military advisors and F-16’s to Iraq. Norway has also agreed to send 120 troops to serve as advisors in Iraq.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: More Troops to Iraq: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Obama Says No to 3rd Iraq War: By Debbie Gregory

ISISOn Wednesday, September 10, 2014, President Obama addressed the nation regarding his intent on how to handle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

ISIS has declared a separate Islamic state in lands that the terrorist organization has seized from the sovereignty of Iraq and Syria. In 2014 alone, ISIS has already taken over nearly one-third of Iraq’s territory.

As of August 7th of this year, the president has authorized airstrikes against ISIS forces that have been carried out by U.S. military manned and unmanned aircraft. The airstrikes have offered much needed support for Iraqi defense and Kurdish forces fighting ISIS on the ground. The support has even helped them take back the captured Mosul Dam from ISIS control.

Members of Congress and the American public have asked what the long-term goals and strategy are, and the president has responded.In a recent press conference, President Obama stated his intention to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS.  The president said that the U.S. will lead a coalition committed to eliminating ISIS by expanding airstrikes into Iraq and Syria.

The speech came one day after the White House asked Congress to approve $500 million to train and equip Syrian rebels in order for them to fight ISIS on the ground. Many lawmakers and many more Veterans are concerned with arming and equipping another group in the region. The U.S. has an unfortunate history of  our own weapons being used against us when either the arms are confiscated by our enemies, or by having a fighting force that we equipped turn against us.

Many voices in Washington have expressed that they don’t see airstrikes as being enough to completely stop or eliminate ISIS. This has many Americans, including legislators, divided as to whether our military should get more involved, or stay out of the fight all together.

Americans, in the capital and around the country, were hoping for a more definitive answer in terms of a strategy for dealing with ISIS. But at least the biggest question has been answered, for now. The president has ruled out sending American ground forces to their third war in Iraq in 25 years.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard &amp,amp,amp, Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Obama Says No to 3rd Iraq War: By Debbie Gregory