US Begins Training Iraqi Forces to Fight ISIS

Everyone was shocked and worried about the meteoric rise of ISIS and how they managed to capture so much territory in so little time while also facing little resistance from governmental forces in Iraq and, less so, Syria. While¬†the territory ISIS controls hasn’t grown by much and has even retracted in some places, countries around the world noticed how quickly regional governmental forces collapsed in the face of the ISIS assault and how some units retreated before fighting had even begun. The effective abandonment of so much military technology and hardware has given ISIS fighters some dangerous new toys while also allowing them to build morale and their control over captured territory. Because of the embarrassing abilities of Iraqi soldiers, one of the cornerstones of the US-led western effort against ISIS is the training of Iraqi troops to higher standards so that they can fight effectively against ISIS forces.

As news arrives detailing how the Kurds (the only group that has been able to stymie ISIS so far) have taken around 80% of Kobane back from ISIS troops, news also arrives of US soldiers beginning to train Iraqi forces. On December 27th, one of the most important parts of Operation Inherent Resolve began as training for 4 newly-recruited battalions began at a base north of Baghdad. With another group having started training a few days before that, the new battalions are going to be trained in the latest military tactics in an attempt to take land back from ISIS.

The training regimes are a 6-week intensive course and all of the new recruits have been interviewed and vetted in an effort to prevent extremists from infiltrating the units. The vetting process will also hopefully go far towards preventing any more green-on-blue attacks which is when local forces turn on American and western advisors and kill them and any others they can. A total of 12 brigades are planning on being trained by US advisors; 9 are from the Iraqi army and security forces and the other three are going to be Kurdish peshmerga units. Hopefully these highly-trained, motivated, and disciplined brigades will be able to join the fighting soon and put an end to ISIS and all of its atrocities.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

Progress against ISIS Even as World Grows More Dangerous

In a new interview of PBS recently, United States Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has reiterated that the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (also known as ISIS, IS, ISIL, and Islamic State) is going well and that gains are being made. Thanks to an international effort to supply Kurdish fighters and other militias and armed groups/armies fighting IS as well as a US-led international campaign of airstrikes and air support, soldiers on the ground have blunted IS’ lighting attack and have started reclaiming territory that had been lost. Now that another 1,500 US troops are going to be shipped over in the next few weeks to act as trainers and advisors, the world can hope that the fight against the extremists will quicken and hopefully return some semblance of peace and stability to this war-torn region. That being said, Hagel also said that there would be no US troops on the ground in any aspect other than those training and advising our allies.

During the interview, Hagel also spoke a little about US involvement in the Ukrainian crisis and reiterated that it needed to be solved through diplomatic means and that the government was reviewing requests for lethal aid, such as guns and vehicles. Hagel also spoke about how we were entering a new era in the history of humanity and that the world is now a much more dangerous place than it was just years ago. Do to the increasing number of “uncontrollables” and factions that act out their own agendas without any regard to nation-states, policy will be more difficult to come up and needs to be flexible. He also mentioned that if the budget cuts and sequestration cuts continue to threaten the budget of the pentagon then we might soon be facing a future where the cuts are so deep that our national security effectiveness is actually hampered in a negative way.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.