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Marines arrive in Iraq to reinforce US Embassy

By | Rachel Brooks

Contributor | Telegraph Local

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The Marines have taken control of the situation in Baghdad. How long will they be there? Citing the Military Times, 750 troops have deployed for Kuwait. 4,000 more are expected to deploy this week. 

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper stated this in an official statement: 

“At the direction of the Command-in-Chief, I have authorized the deployment of an infantry battalion from the Immediate Response Force (IRF) of the 82nd Airborne Division to the US Central Command area of operations in response to recent events in Iraq. 

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Also citing the Military Times, this deployment now adds to the approximate 14,000 additional American troops that have developed to the US Central Command area of operations in the past six months. Both deployments are a response to Iranian aggression.

Yesterday, the Marine Times reports that a detachment of 100 Marines is providing security at the US Embassy in Baghdad following the New Year’s Eve attacks. This follows the attack where Shia forces of the Kataeb Hezbollah and various other Shia-controlled militia attempted to storm the US Embassy. The Marines’ presence was requested by the US State Department. It has been approved by the Iraqi Security Forces. This is citing Mike Lawhorn, who spoke with Military Times by phone on Tuesday. 

 

Two Apache helicopters are giving air cover. Citing Military.com, the 100 Marines detachment at the Embassy are from the Crisis Response Unit. These Marines are assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response Central Command. This is a ground-based unit across the Middle East. US officials confirmed this to Military.com. 

Also citing Military.com the California-based 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, is the infantry currently assigned with this crisis response force detail. It was created following the Benghazi attacks in Libya which transpired in 2012. This unit also includes air and logistics. 

Military.com also confirms that the aircover provided by the Apache choppers during the attack were non-lethal weapons. They were flares. The intent for dropping the flares was a show of force to discourage the militia’s charge. 

Marine deployment has been met with some criticism on the home front. Citing Newsweek, a Fox contributor called this deployment Trump’s “bipolar foreign policy”. The speaker was Josh Kraushaar. Mr. Kraushaar is the Politics Editor for the National Journal’s politics column. On Wednesday, Kraushaar spoke on Fox News. He stated that there is a marked disconnect between the President’s rhetoric on foreign policy and the reality of it. Quoted by Newsweek:

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“The president certainly has campaigned and talked about getting us out of the Middle East, trying to withdraw troops, avoiding the notion of ‘endless wars’. But the reality of what is happening in Iraq-where you have Iranian-backed militias attacking Americans and our interests-certainly has given the hawkish wing of the Republican party and the President’s hawkish side a little more momentum heading into the New Year. The president sort of has a bipolar foreign policy. His rhetoric doesn’t necessarily match what’s going on on the ground.” 

If Mr. Kraushaar’s opinion accurately reflects the ground situation in Iraq, then one has to wonder how long the troops must remain in Iraq. That isn’t certain at this point. Mr. Trump’s campaign to end forever-wars will no doubt lead him into an eventful 2020_and Iraq is a vital piece in that forward-moving game. 

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