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U.S. Intervention 2014


Home > Conflict with ISIS > U.S. Intervention in 2014


The United States response to rapid growth of the Sunni jihadist movement in early 2014 was slow and watchful. The Obama administration did not have the stomach for the involvement of another crisis; especially in Iraq. The world was inflamed with problems in Afghanistan, Libya, Crimea, eastern Ukraine, Syria, and Gaza. However, as the ISIL gained territory and strength the Obama administration grew more concerned and slowly attempted to develop its' strategy to counter the Islamic State.


Stages of U.S. Intervention in Iraq - 2014

In late July 2014 the United States sent almost 250 advisers to Iraq to perform assessments on the ability of the Iraqi Army to fight the Islamic State and to determine areas where the U.S. might be of assistance. In addition, additional military personnel were dispatched to protect the U.S. Embassy personnel and to establish a response force at the military side of the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP). By the end of July there were probably around 800 plus military personnel in Iraq.

Military aircraft and drones were used to gather intelligence and provide an aerial response force for extremis situations. The information from the manned over flights and the drones were provided to two different operations centers (one in Baghdad and one in Irbil). These two centers (call them Intel and ops fusion centers) developed a situational awareness, intelligence picture, and an overall (and continuous) assessment of the Iraq conflict.

In early August, prodded by the prospect of a humanitarian disaster (the Yazidis in the Sinjar area of Iraq), the Obama administration decided to allow limited airstrikes against ISIS in support of Kurd positions around Erbil and to provide humanitarian assistance airdrops of food and water to Yazidis refugees trapped on Sinjar Mountain in northwestern Iraq.

August 7, 2014. The U.S. military conducted a targeted airstrike against a mobile artillery piece of the ISIL located near Irbil (capital of the Kurdish Regional Government or KRG). 1. The air strike was conducted by two F/A-18 aircraft - dropping 500-pound laser-guided bombs on the target.

August 7, 2014. The U.S. Air Force, using a C-17 and two C-130s and escorted by two F-16s, dropped humanitarian aid - food and water- to thousands of Yazidi refugees trapped by ISIL forces on Sinjar Mountain near the Syrian border.

August 8, 2014. A U.S. drone struck a ISIL mortar postion on the outskirts of Irbil and four F-18/A figher jets hit a stationary ISIS convoy of seven vehicles and a mortar position neaer Irbil. 2.

August 11, 2014. Recent news reports 4. indicate that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has shipped weapons directly to the Kurds. The CIA is the natural agency to conduct this transfer of equipment for two reasons. First, there are no known legal arrangements where the U.S. Department of Defense can transfer weapons to a non-state entity and the Peshmerga use Soviet bloc equipment (AK-47s) rather than equipment found in the U.S. military.

September 2, 2014. News reports provide speculation that U.S. Special Operations Forces are operating on the ground with Kurdish Peshmerga units. 5. The most likely role is to call in airstrikes on ISIL positions. This 'eyes on target' would provide very accurate close air support or CAS 6. to the Kurds. Most likely, the SOF operators are members of the 10th Special Forces Group (with a long history of working with the Kurds) augmented with some Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC).

News reports in early September 2014 indicated that the defense department is considering the deployment of contractors to advise the Iraqi defense forces and the ministry of defense.

 



Endnotes

1. See U.S. Aircraft Conduct Targeted Airstrike in Northern Iraq, U.S. Department of Defense, August 8, 2014 at this link.

2. See US launches second wave of airstrikes, The Hill, August 8, 2014 at this link.

3. For more on the humanitarian mission of 7 Aug 14 see Background Information on the Humanitarian Assistance Operation Near Sinjar, Iraq, DoD, August 2014.
www.defense.gov/pubs/140808_HumanitarianAssistance_Update.pdf

4. For reports of CIA weapons shipments see U.S. directly arming Kurds in Iraq, CNN World, August 11, 2014 at this link.

5. See "Are American Troops Already Fighting on the Front Lines in Iraq?", The Daily Beast, September 2, 2014 at this link.

6. For more information on CAS see Joint Publication 3-09.3, Close Air Support, July 8, 2009 at this JP 3-09.3.

 

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