The Boots Are Back On The Ground: US Officially Deploys Special Forces To Iraq

Tyler Durden's picture

Just to be clear, everyone who's been paying attention knows there have been US boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq for quite some time. 

When Obama announced last month that Washington would be deploying "less than 50" Spec Ops to Syria, the public's reaction (as exemplified by the painful presser with White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest) seemed to indicate that everyone had forgotten that just five months ago, US commandos executed a raid in Syria that purportedly killed Islamic State’s “gas minister” (and yes, that’s just as absurd as it sounds). And then there was the Peshmerga-assisted raid on an ISIS prison in the northern Iraqi town of Huwija that resulted in the first US combat death in the country since 2006. Footage from that operation was plastered all over the news in a desperate attempt to prove the US is still serious about fighting terror.

Additionally, Washington has made no secret of the now defunct “train and equip” program for Syrian rebels - clearly, the American public hadn’t thought very hard about who was doing the on-the-ground “training.”

Finally, there’s no telling how many CIA operatives and black ops have been running around in Syria assisting Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s proxy armies from the very beginning. 

As Anthony Cordesman, a security and intelligence analyst for past US administrations told The Guardian, no boots on the ground "doesn't mean every damn boot." 

Well just moments ago, Ash Carter announced that the US would deploy an "expeditionary targeting force" to Iraq. Here are the details via Bloomberg:

  • Specialized U.S. “expeditionary targeting force” to assist Iraqi, Kurdish Peshmerga forces, puts “even more pressure on” Islamic State, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter tells House Armed Services Cmte. 
  • “These special operators will over time be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence, and capture ISIL leaders,” Carter Says
  • Raid “creates a virtuous cycle of better intelligence, which generates more targets, more raids, and more momentum”
  • Iraq raids “will be done at the invitation of Iraqi government/ focused on defending its borders and building the ISF’s own capacity
  • Expeditionary force ‘‘ will also be in a position to conduct unilateral operations into to Syria,’’ Carter says in statement
  • NOTE: Carter statement does not indicate how many special operations force will be deployed in ‘‘expeditionary targeting force”

The announcement comes as lawmakers and former defense officials call for a greater US commando presence to fight ISIS (the same ISIS that US commandos armed and trained along with the Saudis, Turkey, and Qatar). “The goal is to start a chain reaction of intelligence-driven raids that increase in frequency and expand in scope over time. The metric becomes can you disrupt and dismantle the network faster than the enemy can repair and regenerate it” Robert Martinage, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations under Obama said this week.

As Bloomberg noted on Monday, "the model would be the commando raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011. The tactics, honed in hundreds of raids in Iraq and Afghanistan, were developed by groups such as Task Force 714 in Iraq, which joined the intelligence resources of the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency with Navy Seal Team Six and Army Delta Force commandos."

“A group of 50 is fine for what they’re doing so far," Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said in an interview with CBS late last month, referencing the Spec Ops in route to Syria. "But it’s not going to solve the problem.”

No, it's not. Of course it's not clear that the US and its regional allies want to "solve the problem" as much as they want to simply "contain" it. As Sergei Lavrov put it, "apparently, it’s a kind of a ‘honey is sweet, but the bee stings’ situation: they want IS to weaken Assad as soon as possible to make him leave somehow, but at the same time they don’t want to overly strengthen IS, which may then seize power" (more here).

So in short, expect more helmet cam footage designed to drum up public support for an increased troop presence in Iraq and eventually in Syria because as last week's events clearly demonstrate, the stakes are now quite high.

*  *  *

From "Kurdish fighters say US special forces have been fighting Isis for months," via The Guardian

On a damp afternoon in Iraqi Kurdistan, a 29-year-old peshmerga fighter named Peshawa pulls out his Samsung Galaxy mobile phone, flicks hurriedly through his library until he finds the video he wants, and presses play.

The clip, filmed just after dawn on 11 September, shows four tall and western-looking men in the heat of a battle against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq. “These are the Americans,” says Peshawa in a secretive tone.

One is crouched behind a machine gun firing round after round from the top of a fortified mound; another lies on his front a few feet away, legs outstretched and taking aim at the enemy with a long rifle. A third wields a long-lens camera taking photo after photo, and the last stands back, apparently overseeing the others during the combat south-west of the city of Kirkuk. 

The footage, Peshawa says, is evidence that US special forces have been waging a covert war on the frontline in Iraq for months. Such a claim could alter the feverish debate over whether Barack Obama should move farther and faster against Isis in the wake of the Paris attacks.

In another video, dated 11 June, an American soldier wearing the fatigues and insignia of a Kurdish counter-terrorism unit can be seen walking alongside two dozen peshmerga in the aftermath of a seven-hour firefight with Isis militants in the village of Wastana and Saddam settlement, according to the peshmerga who filmed the video.

The American special forces arrived in Kirkuk earlier this year to train, advise and support peshmerga forces fighting Isis. According to a Kurdish peshmerga commander, about 30 American special forces operatives set up an operations room in the city.

A senior peshmerga commander, who did not wish to be named, said: “In February, for the first time, four American snipers came to south Kirkuk because we had lost several peshmerga to the Isis snipers.

“The peshmerga snipers were weak and before we could hit a single Isis sniper, we would lose a few men. Therefore we desperately needed American snipers. They had taken part in all the fights in south Kirkuk and they had really good snipers.”

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JustObserving's picture

Will they be in Iraq or Syria?  The Nobel Prize Winner has never met a war that he did not like.

HedgeAccordingly's picture

Fresh off the heels of Putin stating Turkey shot down his jet to protect ISIL oil... It's all coming together now...

InjectTheVenom's picture

Merry Christmas troops & families !

Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

More like to protect ISIS from Russian bombers...

Money Counterfeiter's picture

Hopefully they will clean up their mess and stay away from Russia.

NoDebt's picture

This is like something out of Clancy's 'Clear and Present Danger'.  But don't get used to it.  Pretty soon it'll turn into Vietnam 2.0

pods's picture

We've already had Nikes on the ground for some time. Just kicking it up a notch.


Anonymous User's picture

If the lazy iraqis missed the train on inviting Russia to bomb ISIS as Syria did, now they'll just have to pucker up and dance with the yankees.

They have plenty of oil, so lubing won't be a problem.

LawsofPhysics's picture

I expect there to be more "terrerist" attacks in Turkey shortly...

formadesika3's picture

Just remember in the darkest hour:


"the global pact on climate control is 'an act of defiance' against terrorism that proves the world stands undeterred by ISIS."

Never One Roach's picture

" Change you can believe in! "


~ Hussein O'Bama

insanelysane's picture

From Peacenik to War Hawk in less than 7 years.  John McCain weeps with joy.

Queue the music "Boys are back in town" with the lyrics for the "Boots are back on the ground".  Keep the line, "if the boys are going to fight..."

knukles's picture

I thought that Bammy told us he'd led the forces to Victory already.

OrangeJews's picture

We have to go into Iraq to see what's in it.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Said most Dem congreecritters when they voted to allow the threat of invasion.  Kerry and Hillary were quite shrill.  

Chris Dakota's picture

Special forces?

I thought they were busy in Syria...

TBT or not TBT's picture

It's "Syria" and "Iraq" not real countries. 

TBT or not TBT's picture

"Terrortories" might fit, because there is no sovereign government and a plethora of warring tribes clans ethnicities and sects reign, however it doesn't explicitly capture the one thing they almost all have in common, Islam. 

fleur de lis's picture

The Pentagram is hell bent on a war. The negative odds are stacking up very quickly against DC but it does not deter them. They know very well that American servicemen run the risk of combat with the Ruskies, but it does not deter them. They know all too well that the ISIS psychopaths are running loose and can turn on a dime, but it does not deter them.

There has to be more to it. Somebody somewhere has money down on the outcome and wants a windfall return or at least recovery of the money. Maybe they need to collect or destroy evidence. Unless the American forces are there to eliminate their ugly ISIS babies Iraq should be written off as another DC funded bloodbath. What will it take for DC to leave the Iraqis alone for a change and let them clean up the filthy Western mess that DC has so viciously created.

Whomever comes up with these wanton geopolitical murder schemes should be identified, tried, and executed for crimes against humanity. But like all violent criminals, it will take a determined LE force to take them down.

Chris Dakota's picture

Paris......pivot to global warming.

Normalcy Bias's picture

Oh, I see. So, back to anti-war if and when a Republican gets selected President. So predictable...

actionjacksonbrownie's picture

Boots on the ground to make sure no more high ranking israhell officers get rounded up with their isis bretheren.

Stackers's picture

Would be nice to know what Congressional authorization Obobo is using to start another war...

Dr. Engali's picture

Haven't you heard? He doesn't need any authorization. He has a pen and a phone.

Paveway IV's picture

Obama? Congress? What do THEY have to do with it?

Approval comes from Nettanyahu and the Israeli Knesset. "We don't care who you have to kill, how much it costs or how many of your soldiers die... Protect our Kirkuk - Haifa pipeline. Do it NOW, American bitches... We're just a tiny little country - you OWE us that much..."

froze25's picture

If there is one thing that the Obama has done for the good of the US population is expose what a farce the idea that we have a representative government with Constitutional separations of powers between the 3 branches (4 Branches if you count the House and Senate as 2 separate entities). What he has shown is that we have a dictatorship that is no longer chained down by the constitution. Sure the Dictator changes every 4 or 8 years but the power behind him does not.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

But, but... What about its effects on "Collateral Damage" and on "Global Warming"

Or are we to understand that our War on Global Warming is actually a War on Global Warmongering?  Neither of which are expected to end any time soon.

Especially now that the self-serving, dumb-ass Chinese have fallen into the SDR trap and will officially become part of the Club Fed Alliance.  And there I thought that these people had brains, character and vision.  The Ziocons and Ziobanksters are ROTF.

Utah_Get_Me_2's picture

Bingo Gaius...

Human shields and the perfect excuse to engage Russia directly should an errant bomb take out a spec ops team. So diabolical. 

two hoots's picture


With Iran operating in Iraq and Syria it will be interesting to see how this works out.

Look for Russia/Iran/Syria forces to escalate and secure Syria’s borders. 

Other: This ISIS oil thing is likely connected to this change.

Never One Roach's picture

Good to see Boots finally on the ground instead of all those Nike sneakers.

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

ND, it's already Vietnam 2.0, but Obutthead is bringing out the early 'beta' of Armageddon 1.0........

NoVa's picture

+ 100 for finding Clinton material. 


InjectTheVenom's picture



SoilMyselfRotten's picture

The Nobel Prize Winner has never met a war that he did not like.


Au contrare, he's lovin the war on whisleblowers. POTUS? Lose the TU, POS is more like it.

Omen IV's picture

ISIS has nothing to do with anything - there is only one single obective for all parties to the scam.


there now will be more "mistakes" aimed at taking out Russia...for good - Turkey shoot was the proverbial -

Prized Stallion - horses head in the bed

Winston Churchill's picture

Russia is increasing its air assets to 138 with a second airfied.

The envelope for the S400s just got a lot bigger and more accurate.


farflungstar's picture

I enjoy listening to Americunts making up reasons to side with terrorists and Turks as Russia (also France) is bombing them and pissing everyone off.

Really people? Putin is worse than stateless, headchopping terrorists who may or may not, at any given time be paid by the US?

Imagine young uniformed US soldiers, going to fight and maybe die against an enemy created by US intelligence services - INSANE!!!

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Gaius Frakkin :"More like to protect ISIS from Russian bombers..."

Yes, which is why the Paris attacks were so convenient for the US Allies, because it gives them the pretext to send ground troops to Syria.  Gee, who could (not) have seen that coming?

Looney's picture

So, what’s the slogan this time?

We can’t use W’s “they hate us for our freedoms”, ‘cause we barely have any freedoms left.  ;-)


Truther's picture

I thought the mission was accomplished. GW was a big fat liar and the sheeple believed him.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"They hate us for our remaining freedoms" has a nice ring to it.

rwe2late's picture

They hate us for our imagined freedoms.