U.S. troops prevented from helping even as al Qaeda overruns Iraqi cities

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U.S. troops prevented from helping even as al Qaeda overruns Iraqi cities

Post  fshnski on Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:39 am

The U.S. has inserted 200 troops in Iraq since 2012, but they cannot directly help the Iraqi military repel a surge of al Qaeda fighters, even as the country succumbs to sectarian violence and insurgents claim control of two key cities.

On Sunday, at least 20 people were killed in bombings in Baghdad and 34 others in fighting in the western province of Anbar, where Iraqi troops were trying to oust insurgents who had laid claim to the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.

In Jerusalem on a Middle East peace mission, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said the U.S. supports Baghdad’s battle against al Qaeda but will not commit American troops to the fight. Nearly all U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq in December 2011.

“This is a fight that belongs to the Iraqis. That is exactly what the president and the world decided some time ago when we left Iraq, so we are not obviously contemplating returning. We are not contemplating putting boots on the ground.

This is their fight,” Mr. Kerry said. “We will help them in their fight, but this fight, in the end, they will have to win and I am confident they can.”

The 200 U.S. service members in Iraq are part of the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq, which was set up two years ago this month to spearhead military aid to Baghdad in terms of manpower and weapons.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jan/5/us-troops-prevented-from-helping-even-as-al-qaeda-/#ixzz2pdKCuejW
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