U.S. sends arms to aid Iraq fight al-Qaeda’

Predator HellfireThe United States is quietly rushing dozens of Hellfire missiles and low-tech surveillance drones to Iraq to help government forces combat an explosion of violence by a Qaeda-backed insurgency that is gaining territory in both western Iraq and neighboring Syria.

The move follows an appeal for help in battling the extremist group by the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, who met with President Obama in Washington last month.

But some military experts question whether the patchwork response will be sufficient to reverse the sharp downturn in security that already led to the deaths of more than 8,000 Iraqis this year, 952 of them Iraqi security force members, according to the United Nations, the highest level of violence since 2008.

Al Qaeda’s regional affiliate, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, has become a potent force in northern and western Iraq. Riding in armed convoys, the group has intimidated towns, assassinated local officials, and in an episode last week, used suicide bombers and hidden explosives to kill the commander of the Iraqi Army’s Seventh Division and more than a dozen of his officers and soldiers as theyraided a Qaeda training camp near Rutbah.

Bombings on Christmas in Christian areas of Baghdad, which killed more than two dozen people, bore the hallmarks of a Qaeda operation.

The surge in violence stands in sharp contrast to earlier assurances from senior Obama administration officials that Iraq was on the right path, despite the failure of American and Iraqi officials in 2011 to negotiate an agreement for a limited number of United States forces to remain in Iraq.

In a March 2012 speech, Antony J. Blinken, who is currently Mr. Obama’s deputy national security adviser, asserted that “Iraq today is less violent” than “at any time in recent history.”

In contrast, after a recent spate of especially violent attacks against Iraqi forces, elected officials and civilians, Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, issued a strongly worded statement on Sunday warning that the Qaeda affiliate is “seeking to gain control of territory inside the borders of Iraq.”

Pledging to take steps to strengthen Iraqi forces, Ms. Psaki noted that the Qaeda affiliate was a “common enemy of the United States and the Republic of Iraq, and a threat to the greater Middle East region.”

But the counterterrorism effort the United States is undertaking with Iraq has its limits.

Iraq’s foreign minister has floated the idea of having American-operated, armed Predator or Reaper drones respond to the expanding militant network. But Mr. Maliki, who is positioning himself to run for a third term as prime minister and who is sensitive to nationalist sentiment at home, has not formally requested such intervention.

The idea of carrying out such drone attacks, which might prompt the question of whether the Obama administration succeeded in bringing the Iraq war to what the president has called a “responsible end,” also appears to have no support in the White House.

“We have not received a formal request for U.S.-operated armed drones operating over Iraq, nor are we planning to divert armed I.S.R. over Iraq,” said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, referring to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. For now, the new lethal aid from the United States, which Iraq is buying, includes a shipment of 75 Hellfire missiles, delivered to Iraq last week. The weapons are strapped beneath the wings of small Cessna turboprop planes, and fired at militant camps with the C.I.A. secretly providing targeting assistance.

In addition, 10 ScanEagle reconnaissance drones are expected to be delivered to Iraq by March. They are smaller cousins of the larger, more capable Predators that used to fly over Iraq.

American intelligence and counterterrorism officials say they have effectively mapped the locations and origins of the Qaeda network in Iraq and are sharing this information with the Iraqis.

Administration officials said the aid was significant because the Iraqis had virtually run out of Hellfire missiles. The Iraqi military, with no air force to speak of and limited reconnaissance of its own, has a very limited ability to locate and quickly strike Qaeda militants as they maneuver in western and northern Iraq. The combination of American-supplied Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, tactical drones and intelligence, supplied by the United States, is intended to augment that limited Iraqi ability.

The Obama administration has given three sensor-laden Aerostat balloons to the Iraqi government, provided three additional reconnaissance helicopters to the Iraqi military and is planning to send 48 Raven reconnaissance drones before the end of 2014. And the United States is planning to deliver next fall the first of the F-16 fighters Iraq has bought.

The lack of armed drones, some experts assert, will hamper efforts to dismantle the Qaeda threat in Iraq over the coming weeks and months.

“Giving them some ScanEagle drones is great,” said Michael Knights, an expert on Iraqi security at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “But is it really going to make much difference? Their range is tiny.”

“The real requirement today is for a long-range, high-endurance armed drone capability,” added Mr. Knights, who frequently travels to Iraq. “There is one place in the world where Al Qaeda can run a major affiliate without fear of a U.S. drone or air attack, and that is in Iraq and Syria.

NY Times

  • Reasonableman

    Maliki wont stop at alqaeda he wants to rid iraq of all sunnis, this is the only reason the tit for tat started in the first place because he is an oppressive leader against the minorities.

    Americans were happy to steal iraqi oil but they dont want the bullshit that comes with it.

    America will send the arms by request of iran (brown nosing points) to help push and scatter sunnis into the syrian region whilst also rejecting all applications of welfare visas to live in the west and use syrian conflict and extremism as the binding judgement.

    The majority will eventually figure out the trap and run to afghanistan and join the taliban on their way to afghanistan they will fight the iranians on their own soil and break the border crossing with iran and afghanistan.

    Meanwhile syrians will still be fighting the shias and saudi arabia will be dragged into the conflict and it will fall. Making syria the vacuum which sucked up and re enforced the ranks of the sunnis.
    When saudi falls not long after the shia will be defeated and the way will be cleared for al mahdi to fight the horrible dajjal and his disciples(the believers of quantum physics as a religion)

    My opinion of what will happen next lol

    • Hind Abyad

      You’re not qualified to give you opinion, you lack the basics.
      “Saudi Arabia will be dragged into the conflict”.. when Saudi Arabia and the West started the conflict, trained, backed and financed theses ragtags canibals, who killed 100.000 or more Syrian families and beheaded Christian infidels..they are tens of thousands takfiri terrorists who came from foreign countries, your calling them poor “Sunnis”.

      I hope you know that these Sunnis are not real Moslems they are terrorists.

      These are the Wahabi, the most Dark Age Moslems extremists and barbarian beheaders. Speaking of Talibans they too are in Syria they belong in Afganistan, as each of them must go home, they are not Syrians they have no Syrian credentials, they entered a Sovereign country illegaly.

      Normaly the US is reponsable for the tragedy of the century, they should send planes to ship them where they belong.. You want them to get visas and welfare aplications after they lived bloddy orgies.

      • hezzies are terrorists

        Lmfao u seriously are demented. Seek help

      • Reasonableman

        Read the first line didnt read the rest…
        Free country you dont like my opinion dont read it.

        • Hind Abyad

          Lazy like the hezzie, you two have the same death wish for beautifull Syria
          Good nigth.

          • Reasonableman

            Yeah lazy at times i am human 🙂 but unlike some atleast i stay far away from the crazy end of the spectrum. Roo7i she5i w nemi.

            No bad intentions intended 😉

          • hezzies are terrorists

            I hope u weren’t reffering to me

          • Reasonableman

            I rwas referring to shim not you lol dont know whether its a guy or a girl one can’t be too sure who or what they are talking too.

          • hezzies are terrorists

            Cool 🙂
            I bet its a him playing on the female sympathy vote coz no real girl talks the way it does

    • 5thDrawer

      Religiously speaking, it may be a tad tricky getting rid of sunni for shiite – especially based on the 10 to 1 ratio alone … assuming they all procreate the same way. 😉
      Now … How much oil did the Yanks actually get out of Iraq? Enough for a day or two of electricity in New York maybe?? Or any on a plus-side, based only on air-craft usage during the battles?? Could we really call it ‘stealing’?
      As for Physics and Universe-Theory … I think it’s better than the Religious versions – a Quantum leap if you like – even if they keep trying to fit it into the ‘God’ stories to appeal to the minds of the masses.

      • Reasonableman

        Much more 5th and dont forget the missing billions of dollars.

        About the quanto thing unlike athiests these people are just ignorant intellectuals they believe in a creator, yet There purpose is to “Try” and match his supremacy which they never will.

  • Reasonableman

    Maliki wont stop at alqaeda he wants to rid iraq of all sunnis, this is the only reason the tit for tat started in the first place because he is an oppressive leader against the minorities.

    America will send the arms by request of iran (brown nosing points) to help push and scatter sunnis into the syrian region whilst also rejecting all applications of welfare visas to live in the west and use syrian conflict and extremism as the binding judgement.

    The majority will eventually figure out the trap and run to afghanistan and join the taliban on their way to afghanistan they will fight the iranians on their own soil and break the border crossing with iran and afghanistan.

    Meanwhile syrians will still be fighting the shias and saudi arabia will be dragged into the conflict and it will fall. Making syria the vacuum which sucked up and re enforced the ranks of the sunnis.
    When saudi falls not long after the shia will be defeated and the way will be cleared for al mahdi to fight the horrible dajjal and his disciples(the believers of quantum physics as a religion)

    My opinion of what will happen next lol

    • Hind Abyad

      You’re not qualified to give you opinion, you lack the basics.
      “Saudi Arabia will be dragged into the conflict”.. when Saudi Arabia and the West started the conflict, trained, backed and financed theses ragtags canibals, who killed 100.000 or more Syrian families and beheaded Christian infidels..they are tens of thousands takfiri terrorists who came from foreign countries, your calling them poor “Sunnis”.

      I hope you know that these Sunnis are not real Moslems they are terrorists.

      These are the Wahabi, the most Dark Age Moslems extremists and barbarian beheaders. Speaking of Talibans they too are in Syria they belong in Afganistan, as each of them must go home, they are not Syrians, they have no Syrian credentials, they entered a Sovereign country illegaly.

      Normaly the US is reponsable for this tragedy of the century, they should send planes to ship them where they belong.. You want them to get visas and welfare aplications after lived in bloddy orgies.

      • hezzies are terrorists

        Lmfao u seriously are demented. Seek help

      • Reasonableman

        Read the first line didnt read the rest…
        Free country you dont like my opinion dont read it.

        • Hind Abyad

          Lazy like the hezzie, you two have the same death wish for beautifull Syria
          Good nigth.

          • Reasonableman

            Yeah lazy at times i am human 🙂 but unlike some atleast i stay far away from the crazy end of the spectrum. Roo7i she5i w nemi.

            No bad intentions intended 😉

          • hezzies are terrorists

            I hope u weren’t reffering to me

          • Reasonableman

            I rwas referring to shim not you lol dont know whether its a guy or a girl one can’t be too sure who or what they are talking too.

          • hezzies are terrorists

            Cool 🙂
            I bet its a him playing on the female sympathy vote coz no real girl talks the way it does

    • 5thDrawer

      Religiously speaking, it may be a tad tricky getting rid of sunni for shiite – especially based on the 10 to 1 ratio alone … assuming they all procreate the same way. 😉
      Now … How much oil did the Yanks actually get out of Iraq? Enough for a day or two of electricity in New York maybe?? Or any on a plus-side, based only on air-craft usage during the battles?? Could we really call it ‘stealing’?
      As for Physics and Universe-Theory … I think it’s better than the Religious versions – a Quantum leap if you like – even if they keep trying to fit it into the ‘God’ stories to appeal to the minds of the masses.

      • Reasonableman

        Much more 5th and dont forget the missing billions of dollars.

        About the quanto thing unlike athiests these people are just ignorant intellectuals they believe in a creator, yet There purpose is to “Try” and match his supremacy which they never will.

  • Maborlz Ez-Hari

    America’s R & D has no equal. They are practicing on real people in real society’s how valuable is this stuff.

    • hezzies are terrorists

      Just like the israhellis, Syrians and Iraqis who also practice on real Muslims.

      • Maborlz Ez-Hari

        This shit needs to stop.

      • libnan1

        You mean terrorists …

    • libnan1

      This amateur R&D on the other hand you do not want to be on the receiving end of Hellfire missile. Terrorists take notice.

  • Maborlz Ez-Hari

    Americas R & D has no equal. They are practicing on real people in real society’s how valuable is this stuff.

    • hezzies are terrorists

      Just like the israhellis, Syrians and Iraqis who also practice on real Muslims.

      • Maborlz Ez-Hari

        This shit needs to stop.

      • libnan1

        You mean terrorists …

    • libnan1

      This amateur R&D on the other hand you do not want to be on the receiving end of Hellfire missile. Terrorists take notice.

  • Guest

    Iraq can go get arms from its friend Iran and not bother the U.S. for any arms since Iran prides itself on having falsely liberated Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s rule. If U.S. provides Iraq with arms, Iran will benefit.

    • hezzies are terrorists

      Well said. What’s even more interesting is the choice of weapons the yanks have given the rafidhis. Another interesting thing is whenever the yanks require an excuse conveniently this alqaeda always performs as needed.

  • Guest

    Iraq can go get arms from its friend Iran and not bother the U.S. for any arms since Iran prides itself on having falsely liberated Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s rule. If U.S. provides Iraq with arms, Iran will benefit.

    • hezzies are terrorists

      Well said. What’s even more interesting is the choice of weapons the yanks have given the rafidhis