After spending billions of dollars and losing thousands of lives, the U.S. government will move more troops into Iraq and build a new base.
The White House announced on June 10, reports Reuters, the Obama administration is going to build a new military base in the Anbar province of Iraq and deploy about 450 U.S. troops to help train Iraqi forces to fight against Islamic State group. This will bring the number of U.S. trainers to more than 3,000.
Iraqi forces reportedly outnumbered Islamic State group fighters in Ramadi, but lost the Iraqi city in May.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told CNN at the time:
"What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they failed to fight, they withdrew from the site, and that says to me, and I think to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves.
"Now, we can give them training, we can give them equipment, we obviously can't give them the will to fight. But if we give them training, we give them equipment, and give them support, and give them some time, I hope they will develop the will to fight, because only if they fight can ISIL remain defeated."
Iraqi officials have claimed they don't have enough military support from the U.S., but The New York Times reported that Iraq's Shiite-controlled government doesn't like arming Iraq's Sunni fighters. Adding another tribal problem into the equation is that Islamic State group is made up of Sunnis.
Thousands of Shiite militiamen are reportedly joining Iraq's Sunni fighters against Islamic State group's Sunni fighters, creating an even more complicated situation.
U.S. officials told Reuters they are hoping the U.S. trainers can help prepare Iraqi forces to retake Ramadi.
Mother Jones reported in 2014 that the U.S. has already spent $26 billion on training Iraqi forces, providing military support, building and fixing Iraqi military bases, supplying military gear — including tanks, boats and aircraft — training a counterterrorism force and police, providing jobs for Sunnis, helping the country's infrastructure, aiding the court system and building jails.
President Barack Obama is not expected to send U.S. troops into combat against Islamic State group, or close to the front lines of conflict.
Sources: Reuters, CNN, The New York Times, Mother Jones
Image Credit: U.S. Army