Tag Archives: ground troops

French Foreign Minister Suggests Using Assad’s Troops to Fight ISIS While Ousting Assad

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Friday that the coalition fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) could be strengthened by the help of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, but only if it was done while replacing Assad.

Fabius made the comments during an interview with RTL radio, where he indicated that while ground troops fighting against ISIS cannot be from France, they can be from other places such as Sunni Arab states and Assad’s regime.

“Troops on the ground cannot be ours, but [there can be] Syrian soldiers from the Free Syrian Army, Sunni Arab states, and why not regime troops,” Fabius said.

[RELATED: Truth In Media: Origin of ISIS]

Fabius also noted that in order to use Assad’s troops, he believes Assad can no longer be the leader of Syria.

“If we want to go towards a free, united … Syria, it cannot be he [Assad] who is at the origin of 300,000 deaths and millions of refugees that can lead,” Fabius said. “Assad cannot be the future of his people.”

[RELATED: Reps Gabbard, Scott Introduce Bill to End U.S. Effort to ‘Overthrow Syrian Government of Assad]

An official in the French Foreign minister’s team told France 24 that Fabius was “reiterating France’s long-standing position that there could be no cooperation with Syrian government forces to battle the IS group until a unity government was in place.”

“It could only happen in the framework of a political transition,” the official said. “Fabius stresses that this transition is urgent and indispensable.”

During Friday’s interview, Fabius claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin asked France to provide Russia with maps of the locations of the non-terrorist groups fighting ISIS in Syria. “He asked us to draw up a map of forces that are not terrorists,” Fabius said. “He committed to not bombing them once we’ve provided that.”

[RELATED: Reality Check: Proof The U.S. Government Wanted ISIS To Emerge In Syria]

In a recent Reality Check segment, Ben Swann looked at a leaked Pentagon report from 2012 which stated that opposition forces to the Assad regime, including the United States, the Saudis, Jordan and Qatar, wanted a “fundamental Islamic group to take over eastern Syria in order to isolate and overthrow the Syrian President Assad’s regime.”


Obama Preparing to Send Congress Request for Official Military Force Against ISIS

The White House is expected to send a resolution to Congress on Tuesday, requesting the clearance to use military force against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

According to Reuters, the Obama administration’s “failure so far to seek a formal Authorization to Use Military Force for the campaign” has left some members of Congress concerned that it “overstepped the president’s constitutional authority.

The Associated Press noted that so far Obama has relied on the resolution Congress passed in 2002, authorizing President George W. Bush to use force against Iraq, which is something “scores of Democrats have regretted” and something Obama “used as a cudgel against his rivals to win the Democratic presidential nomination.”

Representative Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, said that he and his fellow Democrats were not going to just write Obama a “blank-check.”

Some want to give the executive a blank-check, and there are others, including me, who want to limit the war-making authority, especially with U.S. ground combat forces,” said Van Hollen. “Will it narrow it to Iraq and Syria, or allow operations in other countries?

Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, said he disagreed with anyone who wanted to limit the use of ground troops or to put an expiration date on authorization.

Most importantly, the authorization should not impose any artificial and unnecessary limitations such as those based on time, geography and type of force that could interfere with our strategic objective of defeating Islamic State,” Hatch said.

Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, said that although he has been “clear in opposition to boot on the ground,” he does want to see what the White House has proposed.

It’s traditional and expected for an administration to articulate their strategy to the Congress, so we want to give them a chance to do so,” Schatz said.

According to Reuters, the leader of the House of Representatives’ Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, released a statement last week saying the White House “would seek an authorization that would last three years,” but has not decided on “the geographic scope of an authorization or what limits would be placed on combat troops.”

Although the United States began carrying out airstrikes against ISIS in August, Obama has said that he will not authorize the use of ground troops to fight ISIS, and he will instead rely on a coalition that includes Iraqi forces and Syrian rebels on the ground.

Obama’s strategy regarding ISIS has been criticized by U.S. officials, such as former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said he finds Obama’s resolve to completely destroy ISIS, both “unrealistic” and “unattainable,” and that instead of being pre-occupied with “today’s crisis,” the United States should be looking at its long-term strategy in the Middle East.

Here Comes The Call for Ground Troops in Iraq

As the United States continues to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), U.S. officials fear that solely relying on airstrikes has not proved to be effective enough, and they are warning that the installment of ground troops could occur in the future.

These warnings have been made, despite the fact that President Obama has vowed more than once that the U.S. would not send ground troops back into Iraq.

On Saturday, The Telegraph reported that Iraqi officials have issued a “desperate plea for America to bring US ground troops back,” due to the fact that Islamic States militants are now “within striking distance of Baghdad.

On Sunday, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, told ABC’s This Week, that ISIS is becoming “harder to target.

Dempsey said the Iraqi government needed to put more effort into winning over the 20 million Sunni Muslims who live between Damascus and Baghdad, due to the fact that Islamic State militants are “blending into parts of the disenfranchised Sunni population,” which has made defeating the militants a “very challenging task.”

According to Dempsey, the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which was seized by Islamic State militants in June, will most likely be the “decisive battle in the ground campaign at some point in the future.

My instinct at this point is that will require a different kind of advising and assisting because of the complexity of that fight,” Dempsey said.

Dempsey pointed out that the “freedom of movement” ISIS currently exhibits, has also been a problem, and has allowed the fighters to come within 25 kilometers of the Baghdad Airport, which led to Iraqi forces calling for assistance from U.S. Apache helicopters.

Had they overrun the Iraqi unit, it was a straight shot to the airport,” said Dempsey. “So we’re not going to allow that to happen. We need that airport.”

When asked about the current “operation” of defeating ISIS on CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said, “First of all, they’re winning and we’re not.”

The Iraqis are not winning. The Peshmerga, the Kurds are not winning, and there’s a lot of aspects of this,” said McCain. “But there has to be a fundamental re-evaluation of what we’re doing because we are not degrading and ultimately destroying ISIS.”

During the same program, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) pointed out that although ISIS is recognized as an international problem, it’s the U.S. that appears to be “doing all of the work.”

What I do not want, and I fear very much, is the United States getting sucked into a quagmire and being involved in perpetual warfare year after year after year,” said Sanders.

Poll: 70 Percent of Troops are Opposed to “Boots on the Ground” in Iraq

Despite the intensifying conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the United States’ invasion of both Syria and Iraq via airstrike, a recent survey done by Military Times found that the majority of active-duty troops in the United States are opposed to sending ground troops in to combat Islamic State militants.

The survey asked the troops, “In your opinion, do you think the U.S. military should send a substantial number of combat troops to Iraq to support the Iraqi security forces?” Approximately 70 percent of the more than 2,200 surveyed gave the answer “No.”

Although President Obama has insisted that he will not call for ground troops to battle against ISIS, his decision to expand airstrikes from Iraq, into Syria, has left many questioning what his next move will be.

On Sunday, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner criticized Obama’s decision to only use airstrikes, saying that, “At some point somebody’s boots have to be on the ground.

When asked whether he thinks those “boots on ground” should be American, Boehner told ABC’s This Week, “We have no choice. These are barbarians. They intend to kill us. And if we don’t destroy them first, we’re gonna pay the price.

However, the majority of the active-duty troops whose boots could actually be the ones “on the ground,” don’t share Boehner’s views.

One Army Infantry Officer, who deployed to Iraq three times, and who asked to remain anonymous, told the Military Times that he didn’t believe deploying ground troops would solve the current problem.

It’s their country, it’s their business,” said the Officer. “I don’t think major ‘boots on the ground’ is the right answer.

Others doubt that going back into Iraq will make much more of a difference than before.

Marine 2nd Lt. Christopher Fox said, “It’s kind of futile in the end – regardless of how well we do our job, the Iraqi government isn’t going to be able to hold up.

According to the Military Times, this summer’s “near-collapse of the Iraqi army” fueled a “new level of pessimism” about the Iraq Warwhich led to only 30 percent of active-duty troops being surveyed to conclude that it was either “very successful” or “somewhat successful.”

Many soldiers are questioning why President Obama chose to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq in the first place, saying that their mission there was not complete in 2011.

Army Capt. Eric Hatch said that while he thought they were close to being done in 2011, they could have easily stayed another year of two.

If you’re going to commit troops to do a mission, you should stay until the mission is complete,” said Hatch.

Graham And McCain Can’t Make Up Their Minds About Boots-On-The-Ground Strategy

So, which is it?

Apparently, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham think that the American people have selective amnesia.

According to a piece in Forbes, McCain has criticized President Obama’s position on whether America will fight ISIS, or ISIL, using ground troops. The President has said that he doesn’t support the use of ground troops. And, this hasn’t satisfied present-day McCain.

Contributor Rick Ungar wrote: “Senator McCain rose to speak on the floor of the United States Senate where, in his now trademarked brand of righteous indignation, the Senator asked, ‘Why does the president insist on continuing to tell the enemy what he will not do? Why does the president keep telling the people that are slaughtering thousands, ‘Don’t worry, we will not commit ground troops’?”

This chest-thumping happened after McCain has previously said he too wouldn’t support ground troops:

In an June 13th appearance on the “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” McCain said, “I think you have to explain to the American people what kind of a threat that an ISIS takeover of Iraq would pose to the United States of America. Can you imagine a caliphate or a center of violent Muslim extremism dedicated to attacking the United States, the consequences of that? That has to be explained to the American people.”

He continued, “I do not envision a scenario where ground combat troops are on the ground…. I would not commit to putting Americans boots on the ground.”

Senator Graham seems to be flip-flopping too.

Graham said in a June 10 interview with Fox News, “I don’t think we need boots on the ground. I don’t think that is an option worth consideration.”

Ben Swann recently spoke with RT.com saying, “The U.S. is creating a perpetual state of war by attacking ISIS on one hand while simultaneously funding ISIS indirectly though the Free Syrian Army.”

Swann said, “Senator Rand Paul talked about this quite a bit here in the U.S., that the U.S. needs to step back and acknowledge the fact that we have funded these groups and given them technology capability, money and fighters in order to become the Islamic state.

Swann exposed the hypocrisy of this U.S. foreign policy strategy by asking, “How are we able to create sanctions against other countries when we are sending these fighters?”

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Ground troops might be needed to combat ISIS according to Pentagon official

After President Obama said the US would not send troops to fight ISIS in the Middle East, the top military official in the US has said if the current strategy were to fail, American ground troops would be needed to stop the growing threat of the Islamic State.

Army General Martin Dempsey gave testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee saying, according to ABC News, “To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president.”

Gen. Dempsey also said he believes the current strategy of forming an international coalition with nations from the West and Middle East is the appropriate response at this time.  If there was a direct threat to the US though, Gen. Dempsey said, according to the BBC, “I of course would go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of US military ground forces.”

One instance where US ground troops may be required to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the area would be in the retaking of the second largest Iraqi city, Mosul.  “It could very well be part of that particular mission to provide close combat advising or accompanying for that mission,” said Gen. Dempsey.  “But for the day-to-day activities that I anticipate will evolve over time, I don’t see it to be necessary right now.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also spoke to the committee saying the initial plan to keep current airstrikes focused in Iraq would expand to Syria, according to the LA Times.  Hagel said, “targeted actions against ISIL safe havens in Syria, including its command and control, logistics capabilities and infrastructure.”

As of now, the US has conducted over 160 airstrikes against ISIS and the Islamic State in order to help ally forces on the ground in Iraq.