Update at 12:20 p.m. ET. Up To 450 More Troops:
President Obama has authorized the Pentagon to send up to 450 additional troops to Iraq in an effort to beef up the training of local security forces in their fight against the so-called Islamic State.
In a statement, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the military personnel will “train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces at Taqaddum military base in eastern Anbar province.”
He added: “The President made this decision after a request from Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and upon the recommendation of Secretary Carter and Chairman Dempsey, and with the unanimous support of his national security team.”
The U.S. already has 3,100 troops in the country. They’re deployed at four established training sites. The additional troops will be deployed to Anbar Province, an area just west of Baghdad that is reportedly now under Islamic State control.
Our Original Post Continues:
The Obama administration is considering sending hundreds of more troops into Iraq to help train local forces to fight against the so-called Islamic State.
NPR’s Tom Bowman reports the move comes after Islamic State militants reportedly took over the provincial capital city of Ramadi in the Sunni heartland.
He filed this report for our Newscast unit:
“U.S. trainers now in Iraq have focused mostly on the Shiite-dominated Army. Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren told reporters that the U.S. would like to see more Sunnis come into the pipeline for training.
“Officials say hundreds more American trainers could be sent to Anbar province, the Sunni enclave just west of Baghdad that is now largely under the control of Islamic State fighters.
“Sunni tribal leaders have long complained of mistreatment by the Shiite-dominated government.
“The Pentagon is now working up added training options for the White House. There are already some 3,000 American troops in Iraq, either training and advising Iraqi troops, or providing security.”
President Obama addressed this issue during a press conference earlier this week. Obama said he was still waiting on a finalized plan from the Pentagon.
“We don’t yet have a complete strategy because it requires commitments on the part of the Iraqis, as well, about how recruitment takes place, how that training takes place,” Obama said. “And so the details of that are not yet worked out.”
Fox News reports that the Pentagon also plans on opening another training base in Iraq’s Anbar province. The network quotes Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying it’s still unclear whether more troops will be needed for that base.