U.S. to Iraq: Keep ‘foot on the gas’, don’t be distracted by suicide attacks in Baghdad

by WorldTribune Staff, May 20, 2016

Iraqi forces should remain on the front-lines to “keep the pressure” on Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) rather than redeploy to Baghdad to deal with an uptick in suicide bombings, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition said.

“Our advice to the Iraqi government is to keep the pressure up. The way to win is to expel ISIL completely from Iraq, to wipe them out,” Col. Steve Warren said on May 18.

Iraqi soldiers gather during a military operation on the outskirts of Makhmour, south of Mosul.
Iraqi soldiers on the outskirts of Makhmour, south of Mosul.

“The Iraqis want to re-position some forces,” to the Iraqi capital, Warren explained. “We said ‘Hey, we think you should keep the forces out in the field.’ And that’s what they ended up doing.”

Iraq has considered re-positioning troops from the front to Baghdad after a series of bombings in the capital that have killed at least 200 civilians this month.

“It’s an Iraqi government decision as to when they begin or if they begin to pull forces back. Our advice to the Iraqi government is to keep the pressure up. We’re going to support them in whatever decision they make, but our advice to them is to keep their foot on the gas, continue,” Warren said.

“These attacks appear to be a shift in ISIL’s tactics. Over the last six months, our enemy has suffered a string of defeats because the ISF [Iraqi Security Forces] is proving increasingly effective. ISIL wants to throw punches that land. To do this, they appear to have chosen to revert to some of their terrorist roots.”

Warren said ISIL is losing large chunks of its area of control and is resorting to “mid-2000s terrorist tactics that are really part of their AQI [Al Qaida in Iraq] roots. That’s how they got their start is through terror tactics.”

Warren added that no additional U.S. troops would be needed to protect the American embassy in Baghdad.

“We don’t believe we need any additional security,” Warren told Fox News. “We believe that the security that we have in place is adequate to the threat.”