Oh boy, here we go…
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday authorized the deployment of an additional 350 American troops to Iraq, where they will be charged with protecting US diplomats and facilitates in Baghdad.
According to Reuters, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said the deployment means that 820 American military troops will be operating in Iraq as part of the US effort to beef up diplomatic security against Islamic State militants.
In a separate statement, the White House press secretary added that troops will not serve in a combat role, and that the approval comes after a recommendation made by the Defense Department.
“The President has made clear his commitment to doing whatever is required to provide the necessary security for US personnel and facilities around the world,” the statement reads. “The request he approved today will allow some previously deployed military personnel to depart Iraq, while at the same time providing a more robust, sustainable security force for our personnel and facilities in Baghdad.”
The move comes as the United States looks to step up its efforts to combat the Islamic State extremist group – also known as ISIS or ISIL – in Iraq, which Obama has said represent a threat to the entire Middle East. The hardline extremist group began rapidly making territorial gains in western Iraq this summer and threatening the lives of tens of thousands of religious and ethnic minorities, sparking calls for the US to intervene.