With the additional 275 U.S. Marines sent to augment security forces already positioned at the embassy in Baghdad even contract-security forces admit the atmosphere has changed. “We feel safer”, admitted one highly-armed, K 9 security officer who performs vehicle clearance at entrance points into the massive compound.
At the heart of the instability inside Iraq is the multi-million dollar backed ISIS terrorist group that has already toppled some of Iraq’s largest cities: Mosul, Fallujah, Ramadi, and Tikrit. For the last three days the militants have stalled their advance some 40 miles outside of Baghdad.
Although a United States intervention in Iraq is not popular with all Iraqis, there is an added layer of security for civilians knowing that the U.S. Navy now has well-position warships in the nearby Persian Gulf.
In the last several days, the massive aircraft carrier U.S.S George H.W. Bush arrived with a complement of fighter jets and crew. U.S.S Truxton and U.S.S Philippine Sea, both carrying guided missiles, flank the carrier while the amphibious transport dock ship, U.S.S Mesa Verde, idles in the waters between Kuwait and Iran. In addition to highly skilled Sailors and Marines, Mesa Verde carries a full complement of MV-22 Ospreys.
Two days ago, nearly 500 Iranian Special Forces troops arrived in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, located approximately 150 miles due north of the capital city of Baghdad. Sources indicate the elite forces arrived with “heavy weaponry.”
Reluctant to order U.S. airstrikes inside Iraq to contain the ISIS militants, the United States has currently opted for increased surveillance and embassy security, leaving all other options “on the table” according to Secretary of State, John Kerry and President Obama.
Many feel the coming week will be a bellwether in Iraq; either the murderous ISIS thugs will storm Iraq’s largest city and overthrow the ruling government or they will be slapped back by the Iranian elite forces and the Iraqi Army, now fortified with hundreds of U.S. military advisers.