Pentagon: US army bases could return to Iraq

Pentagon: US army bases could return to Iraq
2 min read
24 June, 2015
US troops could be deployed to a string of new bases in Anbar if an advisory mission is successful, say military chiefs.
Around 450 US 'military advisers' will be deployed to Iraq [Getty]

A chain of US bases could be set up in western Iraq, the Pentagon has hinted.

The reports follow the announcement that 450 US military advisers would be deployed to Iraq's western province of Anbar in a campaign against the Islamic State group.

However, Bloomberg View has reported that Iraqi militias are already barracked at the al-Taqqadum airbase, where US troops are expected to be hosted.

Some of these fighters were involved in fierce clashes and bombings of US forces stationed in Iraq during the 2003-2011 occupation.

The Pentagon has suggested that Taqqadum could be the first in an archipelago of US bases in Iraq.

"What we're doing in Taqaddum is something we're considering doing elsewhere," said said Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren.

Warren said the military was scouting for prospective sites, although ultimately the decision rested on how well the "advisory effort" at Taqaddum performs.

General Martin Dempsey also confirmed to reporters that if the mission in Anbar were successful, then he would expect more bases for US military advisers could be set up in Anbar.

He described Taqaddum as a "lily pad" to allow the US "to encourage the Iraqi security forces forward".

However, the White House played down the military's talk of new bases. Josh Earnest, White House press secretary, said that there were "no immediate plans" to open another base in Iraq.

US President Barack Obama campaigned during his first presidential campaign on a platform of withdrawing US troops from Iraq - and has been careful not to entangle the military in a new war in the country.

The US air force is already pounding Islamic State group positions in Iraq and Syria. However, after disappointing performances by the Iraqi army on the ground, experts are saying that the US must ramp up its efforts if Baghdad is to win the war against IS.