Mission Creep: From Rescuing Iraq Refuges, The US Is Now Assisting Kurds In Fighting ISIS With Drones, F-18s
Just over a week ago, Obama announced that the US military intervention in Iraq would be solely under the pretext of "humanitarian intervention" while US troops would be deployed exclusively as "advisers", and nothing else. 7 days later, the siege on Mount Sinjar is virtually over with the US announcing that "far fewer Iraqi refugees were found on mount Sinjar", and yet the US finds it difficult to leave: something which the current president crusaded against his predecessor over. And today it was finally confirmed that the latest US airborne assault of Iraq (so far without a land invasion force) has just suffered terminal mission creep, when US airstrikes, by both F-18s and drones, were used not to protect and safeguard the besieged refuges but to aid Kuridsh forces in retaking the critical Mosul dam from ISIS militants who took control of the critical piece of infrastructure in early August.
BBC reports that the operation to recapture the country's largest dam began early on Saturday with raids by F-18 fighters and drones, US officials said.
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have shelled militants' positions, and there is an unconfirmed report of a ground attack. Supposedly no US troops are involved in the ground attack, although with the level of lies lobbed around by everyone, it is almost assured that US marined are currently engaged in combat with ISIS.
US military officials told NBC News the decision to try to retake the dam came after intelligence showed IS militants "were not yet at a point where they could blow up the installation".
A Kurdish commander, Major General Abdelrahman Korini, told AFP that the Peshmerga had captured the eastern side of the dam and were "still advancing".
Rudaw, a Kurdish news website, said the air strikes appeared to be the "heaviest US bombing of militant positions since the start of air strikes" against IS last week. At least 11 IS fighters were killed by the air strikes, sources in Mosul told BBC News.
The dam, captured by IS on 7 August, is of huge strategic significance in terms of water and power resources. Located on the River Tigris about 50km (30 miles) upstream from the city of Mosul, it controls the water and power supply to a large surrounding area in northern Iraq.
The BBC's Jim Muir in Irbil says there are fears the dam is structurally dubious and many have warned that it could unleash a catastrophic flood if it was breached.
One wonders if it is extensive military planning that has green-lighted an operation as having "no risk" of dam breach as F-18s are launching missiles at militants located at or near the dam wall.
For the latest update on the combat theater we go to the usual source: the Institute for the Study of War with its most updated Iraq situation plan:
So now that Obama is the latest president to suddenly find it next to impossible to extricate himself from a "land war in Asia" and mission creep for the indefinite future virtually assured, one wonders just what humanitarian excuses will be used when the first US pilot (let alone marine) is brought back home in a bodybag, and less relevantly, if the Nobel peace prize-awarding committee will suddenly have an epiphany and finally demand its trophy back.
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