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500 Americans support drones in Iraq

1. Secure the embassy and personnel operating inside of Iraq.
1. Secure the embassy and personnel operating inside of Iraq.
DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

That’s boots on the ground, and military personnel in harms way. Hiccup, those 500 Americans are earning combat pay for serving in Iraq.

“American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq, but we will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region and American interests as well.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/transcript-obamas-june-19-statement-on-iraq/2014/06/19/91380028-f7cc-11e3-a3a5-42be35962a52_story.html

The president explained the current snippet of Iraq foreign policy this way last week in a 5 point speech. Here is a list of the five points in the annotated list below extracted from a transcript published by the Washington Post. Basically, the theme is that this action is in national interest. One reader commented on Facebook that “the Military Industrial Complex has gotten to President Obama.” Maybe they have because it is observed that Lockheed, Northrop Grumman and Boeing advertisements are appearing more frequently next to his positive war comments. That must be an accident, right?

  1. Secure the embassy and personnel operating inside of Iraq.
  2. Increase our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets
  3. Continue to increase our support to Iraqi security forces
  4. Position additional U.S. military assets in the region
  5. Lead a diplomatic effort to work with Iraqi leaders and the countries in the region to support stability in Iraq

The larger point in the theme is that Iraqis must solve their own problems as Americans cannot do it for them. Middle Easterners have been trying to tell Americans that for a long time. The trouble is that their own internal ways create security threats that escape their borders and boundaries.

A paramount trouble is that Middle Eastern security problems disrupt the flow of oil on which economies are built. That condition is now changing as the world is beginning the slow process of transforming to renewable energy. The pace is too slow and nations and people will not achieve economic sustainability quickly enough to avert humanitarian disasters. What we see today is the tip of the meltdown.

“US flying armed drones over Iraq as unrest builds

By Tim Devaney - 06/28/14 12:46 PM EDT

The U.S. military is now flying armed drones over Iraq to protect troops in the country, as tensions with Sunni militants continue to rise, according to reports.

The Defense Department hopes these drones will help protect U.S. troops, including the 300 special advisers President Obama said he would send to help Iraq's Shiite-led government fend off the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The military does not plan to engage the Sunni militants with these armed drones, unless they are attacked. The U.S. was already flying surveillance drones over Iraq, but this move marks an escalation of the situation because the military is arming those drones in case they need to use them.

The Pentagon says there are about 500 U.S. troops in Iraq now, including about 180 of the 300 special advisers President Obama promised.”

Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/defense/210898-us-flying-armed-drones-over-iraq#ixzz361pmYmg5

From the Washington Post there is this transcript:

“President Obama delivered the following remarks on the crisis in Iraq on June 19 at the White House. Transcript courtesy of Federal News Service.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody. I just met with my national security team to discuss the situation in Iraq. We’ve been meeting regularly to review the situation since ISIL, a terrorist organization that operates in Iraq and Syria, made advances inside of Iraq. As I said last week, ISIL poses a threat to the Iraqi people, to the region and to U.S. interests. So today I wanted to provide you an update on how we’re responding to the situation.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/transcript-obamas-june-19-statement-on-iraq/2014/06/19/91380028-f7cc-11e3-a3a5-42be35962a52_story.html

1. Secure the embassy and personnel operating inside of Iraq.
1. Secure the embassy and personnel operating inside of Iraq. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

1. Secure the embassy and personnel operating inside of Iraq.

Here is a “by the way.”

“Senate Confirms New US Ambassadors to Iraq, Egypt
WASHINGTON — Jun 26, 2014, 2:58 PM ET

By BRADLEY KLAPPER Associated Press

The Senate has confirmed new U.S. ambassadors to Iraq and Egypt after lengthy delays.
Stuart Jones was approved Thursday on a 93-0 vote to head the American embassy in Baghdad. Robert Beecroft was in that post but will move to Cairo. His nomination was confirmed by voice vote.

The president nominated both envoys in May. But their nominations have been held up in a larger Senate logjam that has affected dozens of appointees.
The U.S. hasn't had an Egypt ambassador since August 2013, when Anne Patterson left to become the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East. The embassy post there has been filled by a lower-ranking diplomat for 10 months.

The White House has criticized Senate Republicans for holding up appointments over issues unrelated to their credentials."

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/senate-confirms-us-ambassadors-iraq-egypt-24320342

2. Increase our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets
2. Increase our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Elizabeth Rissmiller/www.af.mil

2. Increase our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets

“The Air Force's new MC-12 Liberty aircraft and the first one deployed in-theater lands June 8 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. A medium-altitude manned special-mission turboprop aircraft designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, MC-12 aircraft supports coalition and joint ground forces.”

Courtesy of usaf.mil

3. Continue to increase our support to Iraqi security forces
3. Continue to increase our support to Iraqi security forces AFP/Getty Images

3. Continue to increase our support to Iraqi security forces

Here is where mission creep begins. As Iraqi security forces make headway against ISIL (if they do), they will be entering deeper into territory that will require Sunni cooperation to keep under Iraq national integrity. American and allied presence may be required to balance the power in the field there until or unless the national government becomes unified.

4. Position additional U.S. military assets in the region
4. Position additional U.S. military assets in the region Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty

4. Position additional U.S. military assets in the region

They don’t arrive empty handed.

“WASHINGTON — Nearly 300 armed American forces are being positioned in and around Iraq to help secure U.S. assets as President Barack Obama nears a decision on an array of options for combating fast-moving Islamic insurgents, including airstrikes or a contingent of special forces.

The U.S. and Iran also held an initial discussion on how the longtime foes might cooperate to ease the threat from the al-Qaida-linked militants that have swept through Iraq. Still, the White House ruled out the possibility that Washington and Tehran might coordinate military operations in Iraq.

Obama met with his national security team Monday evening to discuss options for stopping the militants known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Officials said the president has made no final decisions on how aggressively the U.S. might get involved in Iraq, though the White House continued to emphasize that any military engagement remained contingent on the government in Baghdad making political reforms.”

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/u-s-troops-take-position-iraq-security-mission/

5. Lead a diplomatic effort to work with Iraqi leaders and the countries in the region to support stability in Iraq
5. Lead a diplomatic effort to work with Iraqi leaders and the countries in the region to support stability in Iraq Pool/Getty Images

5. Lead a diplomatic effort to work with Iraqi leaders and the countries in the region to support stability in Iraq

Secretary of State Kerry seemed invisible for awhile, but now he is engaged full force in trying to develop and implement Barack Obama’s foreign policy. It may be a good thing that Kerry has combat experience because he is boots-on-the-ground right along with American troops.