Lucas Tomlinson fox news
BAGHDAD – Three years after being told not to go to the front lines, U.S. forces advising Iraqi forces to drive ISIS out of Mosul no longer face these severe restrictions. No, said the U.S. commander-in-chief in Iraq, a lieutenant colonel. General Stephen Townshend stood by his side in Baghdad as the new secretary of defense. “We’re indeed getting closer and closer to the Iraqi formation,” Townsend told reporters accompanying Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. “We adjusted our stance during the battle for East Mosul and embedded our advisers slightly below the formation.”
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Col. Townsend, who began his career as a military officer, has commanded more than 6,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
“I have all the gifts I need to continue the fight. If I need more, I’m sure my leadership will provide it.
Mattis, a former four-star Marine general who has served in Iraq several times, assumes a new civilian role on his first visit to Iraq. He stands tasked with presenting President Trump with a new plan to defeat ISIS announced on March 2nd.
- Mattis suggested further easing previous restrictions as he considered whether to send more troops, and the coalition prepared to extend the fighting to Syria’s ISIS capital Raqqa.
“We are bound by a certain degree of confidentiality not to tell the enemy what we think about the schedule of operations,” Mattis said. U.S. commanders began easing restrictions on forward-deployed forces as early as November as Iraqi forces surged into Mosul. When U.S. forces returned to Iraq three years before him, the Obama administration refused to see U.S. forces in combat or call them “ground boots.” The White House has refused to let these “advisers” go to the front lines.
During the campaign, Trump said he would relax overly restrictive rules of engagement if he were commander-in-chief.
“Knock out ISIS.
.[And] if we catch these terrorists, we must take out their families,” Trump told Fox & Friends in December 2015. Baghdad remained welcomed by the U.S. commander and the new secretary of defense. It’s movement.
“The Iraqi army fought very well. The military has made this remarkable turnaround in just two years. It’s an incredible turnaround. They liberated half of their lost territory. They are trying to clear the second most significant city center held by ISIS. Iraqi security forces retake the city.
He remained asked if his U
U.S. forces have remained urged to leave Iraq after the military cleared Mosul of ISIS fighters, and the U.S. commander-in-chief and secretary of defense said U.S. forces would stay in Iraq for some time.
“I don’t think the Iraqi government will ask me to go to Mosul,” said Townsend. “The government recognizes that this is a complicated battle. So they don’t want to set a timeline.”
Mattis said, “This is a partnership. There have been many difficult times here.
Militant Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr urged U.S. forces to leave Iraq after the White House temporarily suspended visas for Iraqis and suggested repeated threats from Iraq. President Trump had Iraqi oil to pay for the war. Mattis dashed his idea before landing in Baghdad
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