US Announces No Troops to Iraq Despite the Fall of FallujahJanuary 9, 2014 in Iraq
On Tuesday, officials in the US announced that they will speed up the supply of military equipment to Iraq in order to help the government their fight militant groups in western Anbar province. The White House also indicated that additional surveillance drones would be delivered within weeks while more Hellfire missiles would be sent in the next few months. The announcement comes just days after the Iraqi government lost control of key city of Fallujah to Islamic militants. Fighting in Anbar has led to some of the heaviest clashes in Iraq in past few years. While reports have indicated that on the ground troops are currently preparing to attack the city of Fallujah, a spokesman for Iraq’s defence ministry indicated on Tuesday that it was not “possible to assault it now” due to fears about civilian casualties.
As the violence has increased, White House spokesman Jay Carney has stated that the US is working closely with officials in Baghdad in order to develop a “holistic strategy” to isolate al-Qaeda affiliated groups. He further indicated that there had already been some success however the situation remains “fluid,” adding that “we’re accelerating our foreign military sales, deliveries, and are looking to provide an additional shipment of Hellfire missiles as early as this spring.” US Secretary of State John Kerry has also indicated that no US forces will return to Iraq. Despite withdrawing from Iraq at the end of 2011, the US remains a key security partner, providing more than US $14 billion (£8 billion) worth of weapons to Baghdad since 2005.
Reports have indicated that much of Fallujah is under control by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIS, with Prime Minister Nouri Maliki urging residents to drive them out. The nearby city of Ramadi is reported to be under the control of powerful Sunni tribes working with local police, opposing pockets of ISIS fighters there. Despite long-standing grievances against the central Shia-led government, the Ramadi tribes have renewed a pact with senior Iraqi army leaders to dislodge any presence of al-Qaeda. Since violence erupted, hundreds of residents in Fallujah have fled shelling and air strikes by government forces. At the same time, the militants have called on Sunni tribes in the area to support them and have urged families who have fled the city to return to their homes.