U.S. President Obama announced that he is deploying 200 U.S. military personnel “equipped for combat” to Iraq in order to protect Americans in Baghdad and secure Baghdad’s international airport. This 200 member force comes in addition to 300 military advisers that he has previously ordered into Iraq as reported by IraqiNews.com
“In light of the security situation in Baghdad, I have ordered up to approximately 200 additional U.S. Armed Forces personnel to Iraq to reinforce security at the U.S. Embassy, its support facilities, and the Baghdad International Airport,” Obama wrote in a memo to US House and Senate leaders Monday afternoon.
“This force consists of additional security forces, rotary-wing aircraft, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support. This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat. This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.”
The arrival of more U.S. troops came one day after the Iraqi air force announced that Russia had sent five SU-25 jet fighters to Iraq to help Iraq’s all but non-existent air force launch counter attacks against ISIL and would soon send another seven. Some of those jets would likely take off from Baghdad International Airport.
The United States has agreed to sell Iraq 36 F-16 fighter jets, but the first of those are not expected to arrive until fall. The first of that order was officially delivered June 5, but remains in Fort Worth, said Mark D. Johnson, a spokesman for the jet’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin. He said the Pentagon has provided no guidance on when the plane would be ferried to Iraq.
Last week, Obama ordered 300 other service members to Iraq. “American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq, but we will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people in the region and American interests as well,” Obama said at the time.