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Up to 20,000 American soldiers may stay to mop up Daesh

Saturday, 20 May 2017

A policy expert and Pentagon higher-up during the Bush administration has claimed that the United States will need to deploy a long-term force of between 4,000 and 20,000 American soldiers in Iraq after Daesh is defeated to stabilize the country.

Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy during George W. Bush’s second term Eric Edelman, who is now a senior fellow at defense think tank the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), said in an interview that 4,000-8,000 soldiers would probably be “sufficient” to supplement Iraqi security forces after Daesh is driven from Iraq entirely.

Daesh has been driven back throughout Iraq, and their capital of Mosul has been almost entirely retaken by coalition forces. With their ambitions of statehood seemingly dashed, Daesh will likely revert to a network of insurgent cells.

American forces know a thing or two about that, having spent the last 16 years fighting decentralized terrorist and insurgent groups in the Middle East. American diplomats and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi are in the midst of negotiations of a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which will outline the specifics of a long-term US military presence in the beleaguered Cradle of Civilization.

Numerous Iraqi factions oppose a continued American presence in Iraq, including influential Shi’ite cleric and politician Muqtada al-Sadr and several prominent parliamentarians. Edelman suggested that al-Abadi will most likely sidestep parliament entirely through executive action. Al-Abadi’s predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki, failed to push a SOFA through parliament in 2011 which caused the initial US pull-out.

On the US side, concerns over the growing political power of Iran in their once-bitter rival Iraq could motivate the presence of US forces as a counterbalance to keep Iraq in the American bloc. “One of the problems in the [coalition] campaign is that the partner [forces] hate each other more than they hate [Daesh],” said Brands. “As [Daesh]gets closer to defeat, those underlying conflicts … are coming to the surface in a major way.”

Source by: Internet

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