The Pentagon have announced that over 400 troops will be deployed to Iraq in order to support the Iraqi military in Nineveh Province.
Despite the US “no boots on the ground” policy, the troops are to take part in a logistics effort to help prepare the Iraqi military to attack Mosul.
Officials at Fort Campbell say the troops were part of a “Strike Ready Force” which had been pre-trained and prepared to go to Iraq “at a moment’s notice,” suggesting that the continued escalation of the US ground force in Iraq is being planned well ahead of actually announced deployments.
Last month, President Obama raised the “cap” on the numberof ground troops in Iraq to 4,647. This cap has become something of a running joke, as the Pentagon has repeatedly admitted to having well more troops than that. Most recent estimates have over 6,000 US ground troops in Iraq already, before this new deployment. The Pentagon has argued that only “permanent” troops count toward the cap, and that open-ended deployments that aren’t officially labeled permanent let them send more or less unlimited troops into Iraq without “violating the cap.”