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Dunford: Islamic State Wants US To Be Impetuous In Iraq, Syria

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By Jim Garamone

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant wants the United States to be “impetuous right now, as opposed to being aggressive,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday.

ISIL “would love nothing more than a large presence of U.S. forces on the ground in Iraq and Syria, so that they could have a call to jihad,” Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. told lawmakers during testimony with Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Dunford said the current anti-ISIL strategy is showing progress. The United States, he said, needs to stick with airstrikes against targets in Iraq and Syria and with developing forces on the ground to take and retain territory from the terror group, while coalition and local forces will increase pressure against ISIL across the region.

The chairman also discussed a “specialized expeditionary targeting force” that will deploy to the region to assist Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga forces against ISIL. These American special operators will conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture or kill ISIL leaders.

Carter said the force will also be used to conduct unilateral operations in Syria.

Dunford highlighted the force’s capacity for intelligence gathering.

“Our effectiveness is … obviously, inextricably linked to the quality of intelligence we have,” he said. “Our assessment is that this force and the operations this force will conduct will provide us additional intelligence that will make our operations much more effective.”

The force operations, themselves, will be intelligence driven, the general said.

“The enemy doesn’t respect boundaries; neither do we,” he said. “We are fighting a campaign across Iraq and Syria. So we’re going to go where the enemy is and we’re going to conduct operations where they most effectually degrade the capabilities of the enemy.”

There are currently 3,500 U.S. service members in Iraq now. If more forces are needed, the chairman said he wouldn’t “feel at all inhibited about making recommendations that would cause us to grow greater than 3,500.”

The way ahead in Iraq was one of the questions the chairman fielded. Iraqi security forces have been retrained and reconstituted, the chairman said.

Meanwhile, Iraqi and Kurdish forces have driven ISIL out of Beiji. And, Kurdish forces have won a significant victory against ISIL in Sinjar.

Once Ramadi falls, “you are starting to close the noose,” Dunford said.

“We’ve cut the lines of communication at Sinjar between Mosul and Raqqa,” he said. “So Mosul is a future operation. Probably I wouldn’t affix a date to it but probably sometime months from now as opposed to weeks from now we would start to see operations in Mosul.”

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One thought on “Dunford: Islamic State Wants US To Be Impetuous In Iraq, Syria

  • Avatar
    December 2, 2015 at 1:20 pm
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    “The enemy doesn’t respect boundaries; neither do we…. So we’re going to go where the enemy is.”
    This statement is actually means that we go where the profit is. Daesh is a very profitable institution and is very complementary to the Pentagon. These terrorist groups such as Daesh generate a high demand for weapons and military equipment for the entire military industrial complex whether in US, France or UK. These conflicts have generated huge profits and raised the share prices of the military industrial complex firms by more than 15 percent on the average. Daesh is a profit-generating machine for the American economy and a sucking-wealth machine for several Arab countries whose public budgets are in deficit. People are in misery and will be in misery as long as US forces do not respect international borders. It is colonialism covered with high quality chocolate and led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate. I have heard that Iraq does not want foreign troops in the country. Thus, sending US troops to Iraq is a violation of international law. It is fair to state that these small forces going to Iraq and Syria indicate a shift in emphasis from the fight of Daesh to the fight for regime change in Syria: It is a possible dangerous clash between Sultan Erdogan (USA or NATO) and Russia. And this possible clash is coming because the Syrian army is advancing and terrorists are on the run and hurting very badly due to the Russian bombing. The right policy is to pull US forces from that region and let others take care of Daesh and other terrorist groups brought to Syria by Sultan Erdogan.

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