Washington, April 19: After John Kerry’s supportive gesture of visiting Iraq during the clash of country troops and ISIS, Pentagon has decided to send Apache helicopters and $415 million to the cash-strapped Peshmerga fighters.
The deployments, which were announced by defence secretary Ashton Carter on a visit to Baghdad on Monday, are part of the preparations for an eventual push to retake Mosul the city in northern Iraq that is Isis’ base in the country.
The announcements come ahead of a visit to the region this week by US President Barack Obama, in part to discuss the campaign against ISIS. He will meet Saudi leaders on Wednesday and then on Thursday will attend a summit of the Gulf Co-operation Council.
Over the past week, the Pentagon has adopted an upbeat tone about progress in the military campaign against Isis, claiming that the group has lost 40 per cent of the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria and that about 25,000 Isis fighters have been killed.
However, even though operations have begun in areas around the city to begin cutting off Isis’ supply lines, US commanders have been extremely cautious about predicting when the campaign by the coalition to retake the city will begin in earnest.
“It is not something that will happen in the deep, deep future,” General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last month. The Pentagon said it would send an additional 217 troops to Iraq, mostly special operations forces, taking the official headcount up to about 4,100.