THE US’ top military commander General Dempsey has broken ranks with President Obama by telling the Senate Armed Services Committee that US troops may become involved in ground attacks against the Islamic State, and that he may recommend it, despite the repeated pledges to the contrary from President Obama.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff acknowledged that Obama has vowed not to send US ground combat forces back into Iraq, but revealed that US commanders have already sought permission, on at least one occasion, to deploy small teams of US advisers into battle alongside Iraqi troops, the same tactic that was used in Vietnam in the early 1960s which prepared the way for full-scale military intervention and all-out war.
Dempsey told the Committee, ‘If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against Islamic State targets, I’ll recommend that to the president.’
Dempsey made his intervention as Congress prepares to vote on Obama’s request for approval to train and equip about 5,000 moderate Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State.
The House resolution, expected to come to a vote on Wednesday, says that it does not support US forces on the ground, but it is accepted that the tactic may involve US attacks on IS targets within Syria.
However, US troops are already in Iraq with the current deployment of 1,600 bolstering the Iraqi army and guarding the massive US embassy in Baghdad.
The campaign has begun with 167 airstrikes already launched against IS forces. However, as recently as last week, Obama said in a televised address to the nation that ‘American forces will not have a combat mission – we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq.’
Now, the general is determined to make him publicly eat his words.
Dempsey testified that Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the commander of US troops in the Middle East, wanted to embed US troops with Iraqi and Kurdish security forces last month during a battle to retake control of the Mosul Dam from the Islamic State.
Austin was told ‘No’ but Dempsey told the Senate Committee, ‘There will be circumstances when we think that will be necessary, but we haven’t encountered one yet.’ So much for the presidential authority!
When asked if he was questioning the judgement of the President, Dempsey assured that he wasn’t but added that if the current approach were to falter, he might recommend a different one, possibly including ‘the use of US military ground forces’.
Obama is expected to give the go-ahead for airstrikes against Syria, next week.
Dempsey has already undermined the Obama administration’s plan to train and equip 5,000 Syrian rebels allegedly to fight ISIS saying that it would take as long as a year to recruit, vet and train the fighters in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, President Assad has called for the fight against terrorism to begin by placing more pressure on those countries which are supporting and financing insurgents in Syria, namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, at the same time as they are pretending to be opposed to terrorism.
On Tuesday, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel confirmed that the US Central Command has a plan to take ‘targeted actions against ISIS (Islamic State/IS) safe havens in Syria’ including striking infrastructure.
The US has made clear that there will be no cooperation with Assad’s government in any way in its fight against the Islamic State. Obama’s position has long been that he wants Assad out of power.
The US and UK imperialists are going to try and drag the working class of both countries into another major imperialist war in the Middle East.
Any attempt by the UK government to carry out this policy must be met with a general strike to bring it down and bring in a workers government.