Obama: Extra U.S. forces will help ‘squeeze’ ISIS
United States President Barack Obama said his decision to send more U.S. special forces to combat ISIS in Iraq is not an indication that the United States is headed for another invasion like the one in 2003 that locked it in a long, violent conflict.
Obama has said his strategy to fight the militant group in Iraq and Syria does not include U.S. ground combat troops, but this week, the Pentagon announced it would send a new force of special operations troops.
“When I said no boots on the ground, I think the American people understood generally that we’re not going to do an Iraq-style invasion of Iraq or Syria with battalions that are moving across the desert,” he said in an interview with CBS that aired on Thursday.
“But what I’ve been very clear about is that we are going to systematically squeeze and ultimately destroy ISIL and that requires us having a military component to that,” Obama added, using a common acronym for the militants. The interview was taped on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren said the new force would likely amount to 100, an increase over the 50 announced previously.
The addition is the latest effort to boost U.S. military pressure against Islamic State while also exposing American forces to greater risk.
Iraq: Foreign ground troops ‘act of aggression’
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi also said on Thursday no foreign ground troops had been requested from any country and that their deployment would be considered a “hostile act”.
The statement on Abadi’s official Facebook page came after U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren said a new force of around 100 special operations troops would be deployed to assist in the military campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq.