US deploys 130 more troops in Iraq

TEHRAN, Aug. 13 (MNA) – The Pentagon has described the mission of US troops a temporary mission to assess the scope of the humanitarian crisis facing thousands of displaced Iraqis.

Another 130 US troops arrived in Iraq on Tuesday. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the deployment in remarks to Marines at Southern California base on the final stop of a week-long, around-the-world trip that also took him to India, Germany and Australia. The deployment comes after US forces conducted several airstrikes against ISIL strongholds near Erbil last week.

“This is not a combat boots on the ground kind of operation,” Hagel said. “We’re not going back into Iraq in any of the same combat mission dimensions that we once were in Iraq,” he added, pointing to  the eight-year war that cost more than 4,400 U.S. lives and soured the American public on military involvement in Iraq.

Another defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to provide additional details on the sensitive mission, said the extra troops were Marines and special operation forces whose mission was to assess the situation in the Sinjar area and to develop additional humanitarian assistance options beyond current US efforts there.

Hagel referred to the 130 as “assessors.” The additional troops arrived Tuesday in the city of Erbil, well east of Sinjar. They were to work with representatives of the State Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to coordinate plans with international partners and non-government organizations to help the trapped Yazidi civilians on Sinjar Mountain.

USAID funds NGOs in the Middle East countries to promote what they call democracy values. In 2012, Egypt charged USAID-funded NGOs, including four American bodies, of illegal connections with US State Department and USAID.

By Mehr News Agency

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