(TFC) Iraq – A massive surge in British and American forces is foreshadowing alleged preparations for an equally massive offensive. What exactly they’ll be doing is unclear, as most are special forces. The move invokes ongoing frustrations related to the blackening out of Iraq’s third war. Now, citizens worldwide unanimously question the role of special forces in Iraq and Syria.
Washington announced the recent deployment of over 600 American forces to “assist” indigenous fighters.They’ll arrive in time for a rugged offensive aiming to retake Mosul from the Islamic State.
According to ABC, over 4500 American operatives are currently in Iraq that we know of. Most consist of gradually murkier shades of special forces, and US intelligence. This latest troop surge, ABC reports, increases the proposed troop limit from 4,647 to 5,262. White House officials raised the ceiling after now having nearly exceeded the previous cap.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters the surge has been approved by the Iraqi government. Of course, Carter states all these soldiers are simply “advise and assist” operatives, and logistical support for regional forces.
Officials recently claimed 12 brigades of Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi militia completed training, and will help take back Mosul. According to intelligence sources, 3000-4500 ISIS fighters remain in the embattled city.
Conversely, Baghdad has expressed resounding outrage over ongoing Turkish operations in northern Iraq. According to Naharnet, Turkish forces stationed themselves in Iraq’s Bashiqa area without Baghdad’s permission. Their chosen area of operations happens to be just outside Islamic State-held Mosul. Iraqi officials sent a “strongly worded formal note of protest” to the Turkish government regarding their soldiers in Iraq.
In response, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Iraq’s prime minister to “know your place.” Erdogan concluded by stating prime minister Haider al-Abadi wasn’t “on my level”, whatever that means. Erdogan asserted Turkish officials will do whatever they want in regards to deploying their troops to Iraq.
Exactly what Turkish forces are doing outside of ISIS area’s is unclear, though skirmishes have been reported. More recently, Iraqi volunteer forces stated they’d treat any foreign troops interfering in the Mosul offensive as targets, like ISIS.
Washington, regardless of Erdogan’s temperament, backs the presence of his forces in northern Iraq. Erdogan’s administration, as Turkey’s role in Iraq and Syria increases, has viciously cracked down on media in the country.
British special forces are also surging into Iraq alongside their American colleagues. Some 250 troops have been deployed, having received nuclear-grade chemical infiltration suits. Officials say the suits are a cautionary measure due to recent alleged chemical attacks by ISIS. British SAS have long conducted alleged hunter-killer operations in northern Iraq, even before “boots on the ground” were admitted.
According to RT, an “unnamed former senior military officer” alluded to both actual combat, and the psychological war on social media. “You need to condition the minds of the population”, they stated, of both Iraqi’s and, possibly, citizens back home.
Canadian special forces stationed in Iraq are also seeing escalation in their operations. Roughly 200, Journal Pioneer reports, are stationed in the embattled country performing “advise/assist” roles. However, Brig.-Gen. Peter Dawe recently stated “the mission has changed”.
“We are more engaged on the line”, he said, “the risk has increased.” Canadian politicians have downplayed their special forces’ engaging in combat in Iraq, as have other countries. This has accumulated great suspicion of the war by ordinary Canadians, which grows as soldiers die.
— Clandestine Casualty List —
At least one Canadian has been killed to date in the war against Iraq-entrenched Islamic State. Special Forces Sgt. Joseph Doiron was killed by allied Kurdish Peshmerga in 2015, who mistakened his unit for ISIS. Kurdish and Canadian officials told differing stories, particularly on where Doiron’s squad was relative to the front. Whereas Peshmerga claimed they conducted unannounced airstrikes, Canadian’s said troops were returning from an outpost. Doiron died in an era of the war during which admitting to “combat” or “boots on the ground” meant political suicide for American, Canadian, and British politicians.
Peshmerga stated Doirion’s squad answered them in Arabic, provoking their fire. This brings into question how long their interaction was, and what Doiron’s unit was wearing. Ultimately, the incident was discarded as battle fatigued militiamen making a costly mistake.
At least four Americans join Doiron as KIA (Killed In Action) in the theatre of Operation: Inherent Resolve. Marine Corporal Jordan L. Spears’ squad jumped from an aircraft that lost power through unclear means. Spears was eventually declared lost at sea, and reclassified as the first American casualty of the war. Corporal Spears, in fact, died in a war that hadn’t yet been given a name by his government.
Then came Lance Corporal Sean P. Neal, who died in an unspecified “non-combat incident.” What happened is entirely unknown and, like Spears, he’s been forgotten by mainstream onlookers. An investigation was supposed to have been launched, though no updates have been provided. Neal is considered the first American casualty of the war because he died after it was given a name.
There’s also Delta Force Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler, reputedly killed in a raid on an ISIS compound. Dozens of hostages were freed, sources report, and video was later leaked. Wheeler was praised as a fallen American hero, though his death rarely comes up in current discussion of the war. Wheeler’s unit was admitted to have aided native fighters in the operation.
Marine Staff Sergeant Louis Cardin died months after Wheeler in a smoking gun incident. Cardin’s unit was deployed to northern Iraq for reasons unclear to their respective families. Three day’s later, Cardin was killed and his family notified. Officials then disclosed his unit was deployed anticipating the “biggest fight of the war”. They operated right at the front in a barebones outpost built from the ground up, not a fortified base. American supply helicopters, sources report, were actually what showed IS fighters exactly where the American’s were. Cardin’s death forced officials to allude to what many knew all along–that troops were engaging in combat.
Finally, Navy SEAL Charles Keating died in a firefight supporting indigenous forces earlier this year. In this incident, Defense Secretary Ash Carter admitted this was a “combat death, of course.” Footage inexplicably leaked of this fight as well, just like Master Sgt. Wheeler. White House officials couldn’t agree with journalists on where Keating died, 2 miles from the front, or 17 miles.
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Please keep in mind that these are simply the casualties which have been reported on. Most of what’s really going on in Iraq is unclear except to the people actually there. One might say a even darker cloud chokes the space surrounding Syria, and the operations of US special forces and intelligence there.
Notice also how both Staff Sgt. Cardin’s unit was drawn by the same promise we’re facing today–a massive offensive. Islamic State fighters have held Mosul since American’s arrived, effectively resisting native forces. This has been a running theme of the war: a massive offensive bringing with it yet more foreign soldiers. Islamic State fighters have effectively held Mosul since their initial hard-charge out of Syria’s war womb. Those who come will stay, fighting will continue, and then more will come. Welcome to Iraq’s third US War.
This report was originally prepared by